Ep 372: How Pastors Can Build Their Personal Brand with Carey Nieuwhof

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What began as a hobby ended up turning Carey Nieuwhof into one of the most influential leadership speakers and authors in the world!

Between 2012 and 2014, while Carey was pastoring at Connexus (the church he founded), he began blogging and podcasting casually.

Today, his online content gets over 1.5 billion views a month and his podcast episodes have been downloaded over 27 million times.

In this episode, Carey talks about the providential meeting that kick-started his speaking career, how he has gradually developed his personal brand over the years, and his approach to fulfilling his personal mission of serving leaders.

From law school to seminary to the global stage, Carey’s story exemplifies what life can look like when you listen to your calling!

KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE

  • An overview of Carey’s journey as a pastor.
  • The development of Carey’s personal brand over the past ten years.
  • How Carey balanced his roles as a pastor and a leadership educator.
  • Where Carey’s career as a speaker began and the providential meeting that took it to the next level.
  • Factors that have allowed Carey’s speaking career to thrive.
  • Carey’s advice for young pastors who want to build their personal brands.
  • The ambitious goal that Carey set for himself ten years ago.
  • Why Carey didn’t monetize his podcast for the first few years of its existence.
  • The process of building trust with an audience.
  • How Carey’s financial model has evolved over the years.
  • What Carey sees as his calling.
  • Examples of the types of events that Carey speaks at (and why he doesn’t do guest preaching).

TWEETABLE MOMENTS

“If you look at my last 27 years, I’ve probably spent more time writing sermons than I’ve done anything.” — @cnieuwhof [0:15:38]

“My currency is trust – I want to build trust with my audience. I want them to know that they can trust in my content.” — @cnieuwhof [0:23:25]

“Focus on your craft, do really good work, focus on building an audience and the monetization will eventually take care of itself.” — @cnieuwhof [0:24:12]

About Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He writes one of today’s most influential leadership blogs, his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month, and he is the founder of The Art of Leadership Academy.

Carey’s mission is to reduce the decline in the church. He has extensive experience helping organizations lead through change, develop high-capacity teams, deepen their personal growth along with their health. He speaks to leaders worldwide about leadership, change, and personal growth. 

His best-selling book, At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor, is designed to help every leader escape stress and begin living at a sustainable pace and has been profiled by Forbes, Fast Company, and Business Insider. 

Carey and his wife, Toni, live north of Toronto, Canada and have two grown sons.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof on LinkedIn

Carey Nieuwhof on Instagram

Carey Nieuwhof on YouTube

The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

The Art of Leadership Academy

At Your Best

Connexus Church

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

RV (00:02): Hey, I am so excited to have this conversation with someone who is a newer, but quickly, I think quickly becoming good friend of mine, Carey Nieuwhof, and I love this guy. So I was him and I met backstage at a couple, at, at different events. We’ve had a lot of friends of friends through the years. It’s one of those relationships where it’s like, how, how do we not know each other? Uhhuh, how have we not connected? Recently I was on his podcast. He has a great podcast. It’s got millions and millions of downloads, and he is one of the most influential leadership speakers and authors, I think, in the world today. So he’s got blogs and his online content which has over 1.5 million, you know, visitors, viewers, readers a month. He’s the founder of the Art of Leadership Academy. RV (00:53): His bestselling book is called, at Your Best, how to Get Time, energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor. He has been profiled by Forbes and Fast Company. He lives in Toronto, and he also is a pastor. And his personal mission is about reducing the decline in the church. And so, you know, I’m a hardcore bible thump in Jesus freak, and so we have that in common. But I thought it would be fun to hear Carrie’s interesting and unique perspective on how do you grow your personal brand as a pastor in gen, you know, building, becoming an author and a speaker, and having a huge podcast and blog following in general, but also specifically as a pastor in some of those church specific dynamics. So anyways, Carey, welcome to the show. CN (01:39): Hey, Rory, great to hang out with you. Thanks so much for having me on. RV (01:43): So, can you just tell us a little bit about your story, because I, I think there’s a, you know, churches are, you know, hu huge institution in the world, obviously, but even in, just if you think about it in the context of personal branding, so many authors and so many speakers come out of quote unquote the church world, whether it’s church conferences or their pastors, or they have like sermon series that go viral and that launches their personal brand. You know? Tell us a little bit of your story of just like how you came up through the church world, and then where did your personal brand, like what do you mark as the genesis of your personal brand? CN (02:24): So there was absolutely no strategy behind the personal brand. It was completely fortuitous, providential, accidental, I mean, pick your adjective. It was no intention. I had started out as a lawyer that was what I was gonna do with my life, and God interrupted me in the middle of law school and put a call to ministry on my heart. So I finished up law, went into seminary, but started at three little churches just north of Toronto. And I’m in my house right now as we’re doing this interview. It’s like 10 minutes from my house, these three little churches. We’ve lived in the same community for over 25 years. Wow. And started with these dying rural mainline churches. So just think about every stereotype that comes to mind when you think about a dying mainline rural church. Okay. I was facing that as a 30 year old a number of years ago, starting out in ministry. CN (03:25): And we, we just kind of saw the writing on the wall. Like I would do the circuit between these three churches on a Sunday morning. Attendance was extremely low, had been since before I was born. So one of them had six people attending on a Sunday morning regularly. Another had 14, and then the megachurch had 23. Wow. So I started, I’m the like, young 30 year old, let’s go get ’em pastor. And by the grace of God, we started to see growth almost overnight. And we soon out grew those historic buildings. We amalgamated those three churches, built a new facility, but we were part of a mainline denomination. And that’s got a lot of benefits and some challenges. So a number of us, for a variety of reasons thought it would be best to start over again. So in 2007, we rebooted and became Connexus Church, a non-denominational church. CN (04:18): I was the founding pastor there. A lot of those people came with me, went up and down the road. We started a multi-site thing. And that was in 2007. So that’s when the church really, it started, we, we were the fastest growing church in our denomination and one of the largest in our denomination. But when we started over again as a non-denominational church, we started to reach even more unchurched people. And I led that until 2015. And that was when I turned 50. And so I really felt it was time to hand things over to the next generation, found somebody who could do a great job as lead pastor. He’s been doing an awesome job. And then I started focusing more on this hobby, which a lot of people call a a personal brand, but it sort of developed by accident around 2012. For real. It was just a hobby of mine. I thought, I’m leading this church full-time, it’s not taking all of my time, it’s going well, but I really want to like, like start helping leaders. And so I started doing that on a semi-serious hobby basis in 2012, and it just kind of took off RV (05:32): Uhhuh . And when did you start the podcast? CN (05:34): Podcast was 2014. So actually when we started Nexus in 2007, the denomination I was a part of said, Hey we don’t want you communicating about this new church in a church owned by our denomination. I’m like, fair enough. Blogging was fairly new in 2000. So I had a friend of me of mine who said, I’ll set, set up a blog for you. So I started blogging as a way of communicating with people who wanted to be part of this startup. And that became like a bit of a habit and a discipline for me. But then like a lot of bloggers back in the day, I’d let it slide. So in 2012, I had written my first solo book and I’d read Michael Hyatt’s platform, Uhhuh Uhhuh. And I thought, well, I probably should start blogging on a semi-serious basis. So I started doing it in the fall of 2012 and have never really looked back since. RV (06:37): Got it. CN (06:38): And, and then the podcast came two years later in 2014, fall of 2014. RV (06:42): Yeah. So that was you, that’s fair. Still fairly early to that, but you’ve, so you’ve been at this for 10 years. Yeah. I mean, effectively this is, this is far from an overnight success story in terms of building the audience and everything. How do you, how do you, so, so it’s interesting. So you said when you started Conexus, then you became a non-denominational, nondenom non-denominational church. Yeah. And I guess, how have you navigated, or how do you think about, or how did you think about up until 2015, the reconciling the dynamics of Carrie as a personal brand and this like leadership writer and podcaster and teacher, and then Carrie, the pastor of ConnectUS Church, and how do you d how do you, how do those overlap and how do you like draw the line between the two? CN (07:39): I saw the leadership aspect as a hobbyist. Okay. I needed a hobby. I had gone through burnout back in 2006, 2007, and I realized I didn’t have a hobby. So I really enjoyed writing, I love building into leaders, and I thought this’ll be my hobby. So the hobby really took off in 2012, and I literally did it in my spare time. I had six or eight weeks of vacation, I forget how much, but enough that I could squeeze the speaking into a vacation day or a Friday or another day off. And then my writing would happen in the morning. I’d hit the alarm at 5:00 AM I’d write for a couple hours, and then I would publish initially three days a week. So it totally fit into hobbyist hours. And that’s really how I saw it. And, and the truth is, even if you go to Nexus today, a lot of people have no idea. I do the whole leadership thing. They see me as the founding pastor. And when I was still the lead pastor of the church, a lot of them didn’t really track with that stuff. If they saw that I was in Atlanta or LA or a place like that, they would be like, okay, what was that about? Again? Like, they weren’t really sure because I was just their pastor and it never really bled into, not, not on a serious basis, my full-time job. RV (09:01): Got it. And then, and then how did your, how did your first speaking engagements come along? Like where did you, were you making like a proactive sort of outbound, I want to go speak at these places, and that happened? Or was it more organic as people had seen you at church or because they were following your podcast or your blog? Or like, when did you, and and when did your speaking career start? Like, CN (09:24): I guess, so my speaking career started probably, I’m gonna say, well, I’ve always done forms of it. So even in the nineties when I was starting out, because our church was growing I would get invited to go to a neighboring city and like, what, what’s your new membership process? Explain that to us. Or how are you reaching new people? And I got a text from a friend the other day, a mentor who I’ve known for over 30 years, who sent me, like, one of my early resources, it was literally, it was like a Word document with clip art. Nice. I printed out on a printer and was like three staples along the side. So I, I guess I’ve been producing resources for church leaders for a long time, and that was just an instinctive thing for me to do. It’s like, okay, if we have a resource that really worked for you or for us, I’m happy to share it with you. CN (10:17): So I would do that. And then I think the first time I got invited to be on a plane was maybe in 2005, 2006, Willow Creek Canada invited me to do a conference, or I would get invited to do breakout somewhere. But then I had a providential meeting in, in oh five, I met a guy named Reggie Joiner who was a co-founder of NorthPoint Church, and we became fast friends and he said, listen, I want to introduce you to my boss, Andy Stanley. Well, I’ve been following Andy for a number of years online. I met Andy, Andy and Reggie invited me to speak at NorthPoint. Then Reggie left and started Orange. He kind of recruited me to do a lot of speaking for him. And when I got on some US stages back in oh 6, 0 7, 0 8, that’s when things really started to take off. RV (11:06): Got it. So, and, and you met him just sort of organically at a conference or something like that? CN (11:12): Actually, I was doing a conference in 2004, 2005. We did this conference at our church called Generation Next because we were growing fast and one of the largest churches in the country in our denomination, we had inbound requests from coast to coast. Like, how are you doing this? How’s it growing? And I said to the team, let’s just throw a conference. So both years we had about 400 liters fly in from across Canada. And the way you do something in Canada is if you’re just a Canadian, no one’s gonna come. You have to have an American speaker, you gotta have a big time speaker. You gotta go connect with a guy like Rory to get you a keynote speaker. So I didn’t really know anybody, but I knew somebody who knew John Maxwell and John wasn’t able to come, but Tim Elmore came one year and Tim was friends with Andy Stanley tried to get Andy, Andy wasn’t traveling at the time, but he said, I won’t come, but I bet you Reggie Joiner would. So I had Reggie come up and we just became really fast friends. And then ironically invites me to meet Andy. I end up speaking at North Point. And that’s how it kind of took off. So that’s how that happened. RV (12:22): I CN (12:23): Love it. Again, I couldn’t engineer that if my life depended on it. There’s so much providence in this story. It’s, it’s unbelievable, Rory. RV (12:30): Totally. Well, and, and there’s, you know, there’s a couple like very consistent themes here too, though. It’s just like doing great at what’s in front of you is what opens the next door. Like you were growing the church and that’s part of why you were getting attention is you were, people were hearing and seeing that as a leader yourself, you were, you were doing great at the thing that was right in front of you. And so people wanted to know and they were inviting you, come teach us how to do that. So you were operating in your uniqueness, operating in your, in your strength. And that’s what opened the door and I, that, you know, I mean that’s, at least that’s one of the things that I’m seeing CN (13:09): That No, that’s exactly it. And I mean, there were a lot like, not to over glamorize anything in the early two thousands. There were a lot of church basements where an elder board would invite me in and I mean, you know, I wasn’t getting paid for those. Maybe on a good day they’d give me a Subway gift card or a a card for gas so I could get home. And it didn’t cost me anything. Lot of hundred dollars honorariums for workshops or keynotes. But again, I really enjoyed the opportunity to help other leaders. And so I’m like, yeah, I’ll, I’ll do that. And as long as it didn’t overcom compete with my family, I was very happy to do that. And most of it, for the first number of years, well probably seven, eight years, was all within a one or two hour drive of my house. It was just people who had heard word was spreading. And of course we didn’t have social media back in the nineties and early two thousands, so ideas didn’t spread as fast. But I was, you know, as far as I was concerned, that’s what I was gonna do for the rest of my life. I was gonna lead a church and if I was able to help another congregation or a presbytery a regional government or you know, someone else, then sure, I’ll, I’ll sign up for that. RV (14:19): Uhhuh . And you said that you were speaking within one to two hour radius for how many years? CN (14:25): Oh, probably six, seven years before I ever got on an airplane to do something more. RV (14:31): Wow. And so that, and were those all like all for those six or seven years? All of that was mostly that kind of like honorarium gift card, maybe CN (14:40): A few hundred percent here. Nothing. Uhhuh , Uhhuh RV (14:42): . CN (14:43): Yeah. And I just did it cuz I like helping leaders and there was again, no plan. It was just like, it was all inbound. There was no outbound, there was no website, there was no hire me, there was none of that. It was just all inbound. And actually today most of my business is inbound. Like I’ve never, I’m with the speakers bureau, but I know how that works. Nine times outta 10, it is somebody saying, okay, I want to get Carrie to speak. Okay, I gotta go through Premiere in Nashville, you know those guys right? Yeah. So away we go. And there just hasn’t been a lot of outbound. I haven’t, I haven’t like yeah, I have a website now, et cetera, et cetera. But it’s all pretty much still word of mouth. RV (15:25): Interesting. So when thinking about today, okay, fast forwarding today cuz you get to invited to speak at some big big events and part of how we met, where do you think most of your speaking opportunities come from? Do you think it’s more of people heard you on the podcast, they read your book, they followed your blog, they saw you preach, you know, as a pastor somewhere, they saw you speak somewhere. Is it a YouTube video? Is it social media posts that you’re making? Like are you able to kind of tie back and go in terms of generating invitations to speak today? Here is where I think they come from. CN (16:06): Definitely not the preaching. It’s, it’s ironic. Okay. You know, I probably, if you look at my last 27 years, I probably spent more time writing sermons than I’ve done anything. Now the reality is I think they served our local church really well and you know, you have those moments, particularly when I was in my thirties where I thought, you know, maybe one day somebody will hear a sermon or whatever. The sermons never really took off despite all the work that I, and I think I’m a decent preacher, but it was the exposure at NorthPoint Orange conference, which is Reggie Joiner’s Conference, rethink Leadership, which I’ve headed up for Orange for a number of years that probably gave me more of a national stage. And then definitely blogging, blogging’s changed a lot. I mean, blogging isn’t what it used to be 10 years ago, so I don’t blog as much anymore, but that kind of thought leadership on blogging generated a lot of inbound requests. CN (17:04): And then yeah, people would hear me at other conferences. They, the podcast definitely gives me, I think probably in authority in the marketplace, not because I’m talking like, I’ve already talked more on your show than I would ever talk in a 90 minute episode on my show. Right. If I’m doing my job right. Because I’m interviewing guests. Right. But I’ve had some world-class leaders on like yourself, but, you know, I, I kicked off this year with James Clear and Chris Anderson from Ted I mean we have pretty much the who’s who of whoever on my show. And it’s been fantastic. So I think it’s a combination of all of those things. And then, yeah, just like we’re, we’re, we’re, I did go with the Speaker’s bureau because they’re better at negotiating than I am. Mm-Hmm. , and we get parameters a lot clearer on that, but there hasn’t been a lot of outbound RV (17:59): Mm-Hmm. . and then it’s, it’s never been in terms of, if you were mentoring a young pastor today and going, Hey, here’s some ideas or some, what are some of your philosophies or your tips around balancing this? Because on the one hand you go, there’s some really massive personal brands. You know, I think of like Mike Todd as an example. And when they did their relationship goals sermon series on YouTube, that thing went viral, drove a lot of awareness, was an amazing sermon series and, you know, for Transformation Church. And they’ve grown a bunch and you know, you see him everywhere. He became a New York Times bestselling author. There’s, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of pastors who end up sort of becoming celebrity personal brands. They have, you know, they’re speaking at huge conferences, they’re selling lots of books. Their churches are growing. And then, you know, I think there’s also this dichotomy of going, well, hey, you know, you’re, you’re a pastor. You’re like, it’s really not about you being out in front and you know, like h how do you, how do you balance that? Or what would you say to somebody going through that right now? CN (19:13): So I think Mike is a great example and I know Mike and I’ve interviewed him a few times and we’ve gone over the story that you talked about when relationship goals, this series went viral. So I’m gonna share with you nothing he hasn’t shared in public, but it’s a really helpful thing. What I see a lot of young leaders trying to do now, cuz we, we get a lot of requests in this area is like, you know, how do I grow a personal brand? A guy like Mike would be the first to tell you he had no intention of growing a personal brand. He was pastoring a church of three or 400 people at the time. And he had this series that he was really passionate about called Relationship Goals. And what he said to his elder board was, he said, Hey, more and more people are watching messages through the lens of a camera they spent, if I’ve got the number right, about $80,000 on new cameras, which is a pretty, you know, ambitious but local church thing to do. CN (20:05): And he said, that way when we capture the message, it’ll, it’ll look a lot better than what we have right now. So he did that and the series didn’t actually take off. It was normal Sunday at church, 250, 300 people there series was over. And then one day someone on Twitter of all places found it, tweeted it and it went viral. The snowball started rolling down the hill and it was completely, he was as shocked as anybody and took off on Twitter. Then it took off on Instagram, then it took off across all social media platforms. And his story has been, he was doing really good work as a local pastor. I would say Mike is still mostly focused on doing really good work as a local pastor, but the influence that he’s had has exploded Transformation church. I mean, they meet in an arena and they bought an office complex to house the whole infrastructure now. CN (21:01): But that’s an example. And, and I tell you that story to say what Mike did is on a much bigger scale, similar to what I did, just do the work, do the really good work of writing a great series for your local church. Maybe it’ll take off, maybe it won’t. I set a pretty ambitious goal 10 years ago because otherwise my hobbies die a pretty quick death. And I said, all right, when I start blogging three times a week, I want to hit a hundred thousand page views in 2013 and I might as well have said a million because it was impossible. It’s like saying, I wish it was a million dollars in my bank. You get 10 bucks in the bank, it’s like that chance that’s gonna happen. But I said, a hundred thousand is a goal. So what I did was I started sharing on social media as it was then if I wrote a new post, I’d put it on Twitter, Facebook, and then one day Instagram, when that came along and it just started to go crazy. And within a couple of months I had my first a hundred thousand page views. And then 2013 wasn’t a hundred thousand, it was a million. Now social spread ideas via blogs a lot easier 10 years ago than they do today. But that was sort of the thing, I wasn’t focused so much on acquiring an audience as I was producing the best content I knew how to produce that I thought would be helpful to other leaders. RV (22:25): Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. And I think if somebody listening, like even if you’re not a, you’re not a pastor, when most people listening are not pastors, it’s the same connection point though to say, do great work at what you’re already doing. And, and it’s not going, oh, I need to leave this thing so that I can go start the work I wanna do. It’s almost always a, you, you, you, you transition off of doing great at the thing that you’re doing and that is what sort of gives life to the next thing. CN (22:54): Yeah. And you may not even have a, my a financial model, like for the first three or four years of this hobby I had no, I had, I had entrepreneurs in my ear on a regular basis. Good friends who are like, Carrie, you got a million people visiting your website, you gotta monetize this, you gotta monetize your blog, you gotta monetize the podcast. And I was drawing a salary at the church I mean, wasn’t a huge salary, but we were able to pay our bills and save to put our kids through school. I had some speaking income that was definitely, you know, not what I get today for doing a keynote at a conference. But it was meaningful enough. And I made a decision early on. I’m like, I’m not gonna monetize because my currency is trust and what I want to build is I want to build a readership, a listenership, and I want to build trust with my audience. CN (23:46): I want them to know that they can trust in my content, not everything’s for sale. They can trust in the guests that I bring to the podcast. And so for a couple years I didn’t monetize anything and then when I was ready to monetize, I had choice cuz I had this big audience. I didn’t have to jump at $10. I could go and interview different people who were interested in partnering with me. And you know, we joke about it with my team all the time. I’ve left a lot of money on the table because I’m like, I don’t think this is the right fit for my audience and I won’t do a deal if I don’t think it’s the right deal for my audience. So what I would do is focus on your craft, do really good work, focus on building an audience, and the monetization will eventually take care of itself. RV (24:34): Mm-Hmm. . And now, and then the, how do you monetize a blog following in a podcast following? CN (24:44): Well, it’s changing. It’s changing pretty rapidly. So before we used to have ads on the blog and that kind of stuff, and we don’t anymore. If you go to our website, a lot of that is our internal product. So the financial model for what I do now has changed dramatically in the last seven years since I focused on this pretty much full-time. Used to be mostly speaking income, little bit of sponsorship income on the podcast these days because the podcast is so big and has a lot of influence and authority in our field. We take a couple of partners, we call them partners, not sponsors per episode. So I’ll have two ads read by me per episode. And you know, it’s not cheap to be on my podcast, but it’s not cheap now because I didn’t take anything at the beginning. I banked all of this trust and almost 30 million downloads later. CN (25:37): Mm-Hmm. Now I can say, this is what it costs to get on the podcast. And we sell out every year really before January 1st. People are itching to get on. We also, because I limit it too, I’ve had people say, well you can do a third ad or you can do a mid-roll. And I’m like, nah, I don’t wanna exhaust my audience and I wanna make it meaningful. So I do those reads all the time. We also have a newsletter, a sponsored newsletter that I started every Friday called On the Rise. And in it I find really curious, interesting articles that I’ve enjoyed on the internet. I’ll link to them. These are all outbound links. And then there’s a partner link in that as well has an excellent open rate. And so we’re able to monetize that just one outta maybe 5, 6, 7 links will be a partner link. CN (26:25): And we’re transparent about it. And then once in a while we send out a dedicated email on behalf of a partner. And then there’s speaking income. And then I have my own platform. I got into courses about five years ago. And so courses eventually became the Art of Leadership Academy. It’s a membership site and that generates about half the revenue in the company these days. So that’s sort of how we did monetization. But we did it very slowly very experimentally and little bit of trial and error. You know, there was one, one or two sponsors I had in the early days of the podcast where we were getting feedback from. And these were, I don’t wanna say who it was, but I mean, I used to listen to this company, advertise on other podcasts so bad on me. I didn’t do my due diligence. We got complaints from listeners who said, Hey, I used this agency service wasn’t what I thought. And I’m like, that’s it, you’re fired. You’re off the podcast. That’s it. You’re disappointing our clients. And we went without revenue for a month or two and then we found another partner to fill that gap down the road. But I think because we’ve done that so well, we’re able to monetize with some integrity what we’re doing. And our audience now trusts us. And that’s what our partners tell us is like, your audience takes action. RV (27:41): Uhhuh , do you sell your own ads? Like have you always sold your own ads? Mm-Hmm. and yeah, CN (27:46): How do you, we have someone in-house who helps with that. At the very beginning we did that through an agency associated with a company in Atlanta. And then in 2017 I bought all that out. And I have a guy who helps me. He’s sort of on our team. He works with a lot of different organizations. He’ll do the leads and then we’re developing our own internal team to handle all of that in-house now. RV (28:08): Interesting. And so you’re CN (28:09): Just Yeah, so we’re not, we’re not like part of a network like HubSpot or that kind of thing that, that sells ads. Again, because we’re such a niche market, it’s mostly you’re either a pastor or a church leader who works at a church or you’re a guy like you. If, if you listen to my show, so you’re all about the church even though you don’t work in the church. So we’re either entrepreneurs who do what you do or we’re people who work at churches and that’s a very high value audience to a select group of people in the marketplace. RV (28:39): And so you basically just say, this is my audience who, what companies or organizations wanna reach my audience? And then you just like contact, just email ’em or phone call ’em CN (28:52): Actually, actually Brad Loick does that work for us. And mostly it’s, it’s again, inbound to pick up on a theme that we’ve talked about. We, I don’t, I think I can honestly say I haven’t pursued anybody. They have pursued us. RV (29:05): Gotcha. Uhhuh . CN (29:08): I haven’t personally, I don’t know a hundred percent what Brad does, but mostly it’s people approaching us. And so I recruited Brad to sort of be the go-between cuz I don’t wanna be involved in the negotiation RV (29:21): Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. But that’s interesting to be at your size and to do it all yourself, like do it internally. Mm-Hmm. , you don’t have to have a huge agency. And then you know, and so you’ve got that. And then you’re saying the membership side, actually what started as courses became a membership side and now that’s like half the revenue of the whole operation. CN (29:39): Yeah. And that’s all in-house two. We and my team’s small. There’s six of us, seven of us, so that’s it. And we keep it in-house, we keep it small. It’s grown as a company, as has grown. A few years ago it was me and a couple of assistants and then we started hiring some leaders to really lead. But yeah, I’m very, very proud of the team and what they’ve been able to accomplish. And that allows me to really focus on what I do, which is interview people, write content, serve the members in the academy, and try to deliver great keynotes when I speak at conferences or events RV (30:14): Mm-Hmm. . And are you trying to speak more? Like, is that something that you’re, or have you always sort of tempered it? Because you have two, two kids, right? CN (30:22): Yeah, two kids. They’re grown, actually. My youngest works with me. So that’s, that’s a fun part of running the company. He’s 27 and my 31 year old’s a software engineer. So he works outside the company. RV (30:32): Uhhuh, . So you’re, do you speak a bunch? Like how often do you CN (30:36): Speak? I could speak a lot more. Our mutual friend John ak, like he’s on a plane almost every week and that kind of thing. And, and he and I catch up on this all the time. I think it works best for me if I’m speaking one or two times a month. Yeah. Nine times outta 10 in the US I do a little bit of international, I’m already lined up for Australia, New Zealand and Germany in 2024. A big like one month road trip. That’s gonna be a lot of fun. But for the most part, like I’m flying to Tennessee next week, it’ll be great. And then I’m on, I’m at home for another three weeks and then I’ll go to Atlanta and then we’ll fly from Atlanta up to Northern California and I’ll do an event there. And then I’m back for another three weeks and then down to Orlando. So that’s a pretty typical rhythm for me. And we say no to about 90% of all speaking engagements. RV (31:26): And then books. You also have books on top of all that. So you’ve got books. CN (31:30): Yeah, I got five, five books that I’ve written. RV (31:33): Uhhuh, . I mean it’s, it’s interesting because to me this, this follows a very similar path. I mean like, you know you know, like pastor or not like just going, you build an audience, you build trust, you create a a, a fan base, a group of people, you’re serving them. And then over time it leads, it just sort of becomes all of these, all of these things. What is, what is the, what’s the business of speaking in churches? Like how do you, is it mostly just pastors? Like some, cuz churches will hire people to come in and do a Sunday service, right? Mm-Hmm. . And then also it’s like some people hold, hold these big events and conferences at churches. Are that mostly only, is that mostly only just pastors who are doing that kind of a thing and CN (32:24): Yeah, so that’s, that’s a really interesting thing. So I mean, my old denomination, we used to call it pulpit supply and I used to do a lot of that when I was a pastor where, you know, for a couple hundred bucks, you speak at my church, I’ll speak at your church or whatever. I think with mega churches there is guest preaching that happens where you bring people in. I almost always say no to that. I can’t think of the last time I did guest preaching. Interesting. And the reason is, you RV (32:51): Mean you going there or someone coming to connect us? CN (32:54): Oh no, we, my successor, I, I used to bring people in to guest preach at our church, and my successor has definitely done his share of that, which I think is awesome. Okay. I don’t see that as my personal calling. I feel like my personal calling is to help leaders that I’m there to serve leaders. And it’s not that there’s not leaders on a Sunday morning in a church, but I, I really feel like if you’re doing a conference to the second part of your question, that’s more my jam. That’s what I love. I love talking to leaders. I love it when the leaders of a church or the leaders from industry gather and we get to talk or where sometimes that, that’s often hosted. Occasionally it’s hosted by churches. I did an event in Indianapolis that was hosted by a church and they invited business leaders and church leaders from their area. CN (33:44): But often I’m just speaking to church leaders or to bus, well I’m speaking to industry leaders too. So I’m speaking to Christian broadcast executives. I’ve done a number of events like that over the last few years. Or I’ll speak to chartered accountants who have a faith base or I’ll speak to just pastors who have gathered for a conference. And sometimes that’s hosted as a separate K not-for-profit or a for-profit company. Sometimes that hosted by marketplace people. Occasionally it’s hosted by a church, but that would be more of the kind of speaking that I do. Mm-Hmm. and that’s by choice. I I used to get a lot of invites to do and maybe I still get them, I don’t see every invi invite that comes, but I’m just like, no, I don’t do guest preaching as RV (34:30): A rule, but, but that, that is a business model. You can get paid to go guest preach yet. CN (34:34): Oh, there are people who, yeah, they would be itinerant teachers and they could go and, you know, speak almost every weekend at a church around the country. I’m, I’m just don’t feel like that’s a good calling for me. RV (34:48): Ah-Huh . And what, like, you know, roughly speaking, if you’re doing that, it, I’m, I’m assuming the fees for those are lower than what you would experience in the corporate market. Maybe more like an association, maybe like a few thousand bucks for a weekend or something like that. CN (35:02): Probably. You know, I’m not really in that field so I couldn’t tell you. Yeah. But like the conference circuit would definitely, I assume pay more more. Yeah. And you know, it would be like, well, you know, premier speakers and agencies like that, that it would be more like what you get paid at a leadership conference wouldn’t be quite what you get paid to keynote at a business conference, but it would be more on par with that. RV (35:26): Yeah. Yeah. I love it when we have, I mean, when Crosspoint in Nashville we have, we have guest preachers come in probably, I don’t know, maybe like four or five times a year. And it’s always, it’s always great. It’s always great. We had Lisa Harper this last weekend and do you, have you ever met her? Do you know Lisa Harper? CN (35:42): I haven’t, but I have all kinds of friends who know her and I Oh man. She’s hilarious and brilliant and wonderful. RV (35:48): Yes. Hilarious, brilliant Moving. I mean it was, it was such an incredible, such an incredible sermon. And CN (35:56): See and that is such a gift and like, it’s, it’s really interesting because you know, when I was, for the three years that I was still a lead pastor, I would work like crazy on a sermon and you know, we’d get maybe 1500 people who heard it or watched it or something like that. And that was great. And then I’d whip off a blog post in an hour and a half at 6:00 AM one morning and post it and the next week a hundred thousand people would’ve read it . So I was getting really disproportionate results on the leadership content and I take that like eventually it’s like, okay God, that might be a sign that this is something you’ve equipped me for. So that’s really the lane that I focus in. And even I was talking to a client this afternoon where you know, they wanted some kind of inspirational message and I’m like, I think you got the wrong guy. Like I am, I’m a leadership guy, but here’s what I can deliver. It’ll be in bullet points, it’ll have a few stories, it’ll be interesting. They’re like, yeah, we’re good for that. I’m like, I just don’t want you to think I’m the sermon guy cuz I’m not the sermon guy that said, I’m preaching at my church in April and I’m gonna do my best. But I can promise you it won’t have the resonance or the impact that a keynote I give at a conference will have. Yeah. It’s just the way I’m wired. RV (37:11): Yeah. I mean, I doing the sermons, man writing a new 20 minute speech every week. Like that’s not for the faint of heart that is. So, CN (37:19): But I did it for 30 years, so I’m like done. RV (37:22): Yeah. It’s, that’s, it’s, it is really, really hard to to, to do that. And CN (37:27): To the same people. Like when you’re Yeah. When you’re doing the conference thing, like I give a version of the same three talks wherever I go. Right. Usually have two or three that are kind of your current roster. And I’ll vary it by the event, but like I get to tell the same stories, the same jokes Yes. All that stuff because 98% of the audience has never heard you and that’s what they expect you to do. When you’re a conference speaker and you’re doing the circuit, it’s kinda like going to see Coldplay or Taylor Swift, you know, Taylor Swift to better do shake it off or you want your money back. Right. And so there are talks that I’ve been known for on the conference circuit and they want me to do them and I actually really enjoy it because I know I’m gonna help everybody in the audience. It’s sort of like, oh, I know where this is going. I know this is really gonna help people. We’re gonna have a great time together. Whereas, you know, if you’re preaching 40 Sundays a year, you’re kind of hoping this thing’s gonna connect, but you don’t know. It’s a very special thing, a really great period of my life, but like not anxious to go back RV (38:25): There. Interesting. Interesting. Well man, it, the this has been, this has been an awesome sort of journey down. I’m just always curious about the path of past, you know, pastor to leadership, you know, consultant and teacher and, you know this is, this has been super inspiring. Where do you want people to go, Carrie, if they want to connect with you and like link up with what you’re doing? CN (38:54): So my name is really easy to spell. Just go to carrie new h.com or you can go to the art of leadership academy.com. You’ll, you’ll find us there. Also Carrie New H Leadership podcast anywhere you listen to your podcast. RV (39:07): Yeah, yeah. It’s a great, a great, great show. Man, it’s been, it’s been so wonderful to get to know you a little bit and, and to be your pal and thanks for the work that you’re doing and, and all the people that you’re inspiring and r and thanks for being here and just sort of sharing like a little bit of behind the scenes of how Carrie New H became ke new H Man. It’s, it’s been awesome. CN (39:28): Well, it’s an absolute joy to be with you Rory. Thanks for having me.

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