Ep 070

Turning Your Passion into Your Career & Going Viral

With

DJ Eric Rhodes

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Inside This Episode

Today, I’m talking with DJ Eric Rhodes, an expert at creating content that goes viral.

Eric is renowned for his mashups of classic hits with new songs, generating millions of views and even catching the attention of artists like Chris Stapleton and Warren G in the process.

But Eric’s journey to success only got off the ground because he decided to leave a stable career to pursue his passion for DJing. Thanks to his persistence and his strategic use of platforms like Instagram and TikTok, he’s been able to turn his passion into a thriving business.

In fact, this year alone, Eric has more than DOUBLED his audience, surpassing 2 million followers across his social platforms!

In our conversation, we get into Eric’s journey and the specific social media marketing strategies he’s used to propel his own career. More importantly, how financial advisors can leverage these strategies to rapidly grow their own audiences.

3 of the biggest insights from DJ Eric Rhodes

#1 How Eric doubled his followers this year in no small part because of his content marketing strategy – and the specific hacks financial advisors can use to build their own audiences!

#2 WHAT content financial advisors should be posting, HOW frequently they should be posting it, and WHY it has to be authentic if it’s going to be successful.

#3 Proven strategies for monetizing your audience and converting views into real revenue for your business.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • Intro to DJ Eric Rhodes
  • Marketing and Social Media Breakthrough
  • Creating Viral Videos
  • Content Marketing Hacks for Financial Advisors
  • The Importance of Authenticity
  • How to Monetize Viewers
  • How to Repurpose Content
  • Social Media Posting Frequency
  • Influential Thought Leaders
  • Business & Life

RECYCLING CONTENT: LAZY OR GENIUS?

BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE WITH AUTHENTICITY

TURNING SOCIAL MEDIA FRUSTRATIONS INTO VIRAL SUCCESS

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE: 

PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED REVIEW

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MIC DROP MOMENTS

  • Within a couple of months, I had a video go viral. And in less than a year I had a million followers. I see a lot of DJs try to copy what I do. When I watch, I go, ‘There’s a disconnect there.’ They’re not being themselves, and I can sense that. So, that’s really a big key. People want the human element and your natural personality to come out.” – DJ Eric Rhodes

  • “If you hesitate at all, you’re not going to end up ever doing it.” – DJ Eric Rhodes

Brad Johnson: Welcome back to another episode of Do Business. Do Life. We have Eric Rhodes aka DJ Eric Rhodes on the show here with us today. Welcome to the show, Eric.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Hey, thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, man, they actually call me a DJ in my family, but that’s not a professional one. But I do love to create a playlist and keep the vibe going in a family get-together. So, it’s really fun for me. I told my wife, I’m like, “If I ever get my way, I’m going to learn how to actually officially deejay.” So, maybe down the road, we’ll make that happen.

But when we connected, we were actually looking at how do we take the next Triad experience. So, you’re going to be joining us at the Founders Retreat out in Amelia Island here in a month or two, as we record this in May. And literally, you just popped up on my IG feed and you were doing mashups. You were doing like country/hip-hop mashups. You had Nelly woven in there. It was a lot of like my 90s, late 90s, early 2000s hip-hop with some good country.

And I was just like, “Man, this guy, he’s putting some good stuff together.” And we were just talking even before we hit record here and on IG, I think your followers have almost doubled this year, if not more than doubled. You’re just under a million followers on IG now. So, bottom line, I wanted to get you on here because I think there’s so much that financial advisors can learn as they’re transitioning from more of a traditional media. Radio, TV, and everything’s going digital, online, social with YouTube, IG, podcasting. And so, I wanted to get you on here, man, and hear your story. So, how did this come to be? What’s the backstory of DJ Eric Rhodes?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Sure. Kind of in the short version is I started deejaying in 2000 in college, did it as a hobby, played at lounges and clubs in Boise, Idaho, and got into TV news about 2007 as a videographer and a producer. Didn’t really like my career, was deejaying on the side. My family and I are about to have a baby. And 2011, I decided, you know what? I just want to deejay for a living. I love it. That’s when I’m happy is when I’m performing on the weekends and not miserable during the week.

So, I left my career, waited tables on the side for a few years, started my DJ business, and just went all in, and it was local. I was doing private events, weddings, corporate, those kinds of things. But I was always really interested in marketing. So, over the years, as Instagram kind of became a thing and Facebook, all of those, I just started to figure out ways to promote my business that way. And I had a lot of fun doing it.

And right before COVID, I had a team of DJs. And this is really key for me. So, I had this team of people that I was managing and I was trying to run my business, and I found that I wasn’t really happy doing that. And I again had that epiphany back at, like I did in 2011. I was like, “Okay, I’m kind of unhappy doing all of this. What do I love to do? I love to deejay and I love to market.”

And so, I got rid of the team and went all in on those two things. And when I did, I started to have time to be creative. And in 2021, I started putting out mixes on TikTok of me just transitioning on, hey, check out this mix that I do at a wedding, this track to this track. And immediately, my video started to take off.

And within a couple of months, I had a video go viral. And in about a year, I had a million followers, first on TikTok just by doing these transitions and engaging in my crowd and doing these little mashups. So, ever since, that’s become a lot of what I love to do, which is be on Instagram and TikTok and then also deejay private events. But yeah, it was just something I love to do in a way that I knew I had to do it to promote my business and my brand. I knew that was the key.

Brad Johnson: Okay, so before we get into all this social stuff, because I think we can spend so much time there, but let’s go back because that, so I heard a couple themes there already. I wasn’t super happy in my corporate job or my real weekday job, but I really love the weekends and deejaying, but it probably wasn’t paying the bills in the early days. But it sounds like you weren’t afraid to kind of follow your heart, get uncomfortable, kind of venture into the unknown. And then it sounds like you did that again, right? As COVID hit and you said, hey, running this team doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. And COVID couldn’t have been a lot of fun for a DJ. I would think gigs dried up a little bit. So, how did you get through the scary parts of that to get to today?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Belief. Like, I just had to believe that I could get through that. And practically, it was in the beginning, I had to wait tables, so I knew, okay, I had to literally just look at the numbers and go, okay, I don’t have enough business yet as a wedding corporate DJ. So, what am I going to do to supplement my income? So, I figured that out.

And then I knew once I build my business, which I had to work late nights and the library was my office because we’d lived in a smaller home, had a baby. So, I did what I could in my spare time to grow the DJ business. And then I knew once I hit a certain income level, I had to cut the waiting tables, which made me have another pay cut, but it was enough to survive. And then I built from there.

And at that point, I had momentum. So, the same kind of thing happened. I had enough momentum, I feel like when I let my team go and I knew, I was like, if I have more time, if I can double my time that I get to spend deejaying and marketing, I will grow my business. I just knew it. I just had faith. And I knew that if I were doing the right things every day, day in and day out, that good things would come from it. And so far, it’s worked out.

Brad Johnson: I think it’s going okay for you. So, it sounds, if I’m getting the dates right, about 2021 was where you started really putting stuff out on TikTok, and then it sounded like that, then started to spill over into IG and some of the other platforms you’ve built. Was that like, “Hey, here’s my marketing strategy for 2021, I’m going to start putting this out”? Was it a little bit like, “Hey, I’m going to throw this out there and see what happens”? And then it took off, so then you doubled down. How did you think through that process?

DJ Eric Rhodes: It actually came out of frustration. So, one of my marketing strategies was to put out DJ mixes. There’s an app called Mixcloud that allows DJs to put out mixes legally, basically. So, I was putting out these workout mixes because I love fitness and I was like, “How can I not only do private events, but eventually, I want to merge my love for fitness and working out?” So, I thought, okay, the good start is to put out these mixes. Well, I was hardly getting any views and listens. And when you try to promote something on Facebook or IG stories, you’re going to get suppressed because they don’t want you sending people to other websites. I was getting really frustrated.

And one day, I was working on my new mixes, I think April 2021. And I’m in my office, I’ve got my turntables pushed up against the wall. And I thought, maybe instead of promoting the mix, like go to this site and listen, I just show them one part of that mix. So, I literally just grabbed my phone, propped it up against the wall on an iPhone box with my speaker here, and I looked at my camera and I said, “Hey, check out this mix that I do.” And I put it out there on IG stories. And I got way more engagement than I had ever gotten on a story. I was like, “Oh, wow.” I think I’m on to something.

So, I started making more of those, and it was only a couple of weeks before I put something out on TikTok. And that’s when I got a couple thousand views right away. I was like, “Okay, this is fun. People like it. Let’s go all in.” But yeah, it wasn’t a strategy at first. It was really just how do I get this other strategy to work. And that was a byproduct of it.

Brad Johnson: There’s such a good lesson there. I look at, if we take this back to the financial advisor space, YouTube’s been around a long time, and I’ve coached so many advisors where they keep, like, delay, delay, delay until, oh, I just got to get this perfect. I’ve got to have the perfect studio. I’ve got to have it thought through exactly what I want to say in my 10-minute video. And then they never do it because they’re getting ready to get ready the whole time. And I love just the– like, get uncomfortable, test it out while no one is watching because you had probably not a lot of followers at the time and you’re like just built in public almost. And it’s happened similar with me on my podcast. It’s just like, just do the interview and see what happens. And then once you put it out there, you see what hits, what resonates, the direction you want to go, and then you kind of iterate off of that one. Did you find that to be true on your side as well?

DJ Eric Rhodes: 100%. And I did think about it when I put that phone up, I thought, oh, I don’t have a ring light. I don’t have the audio source yet. And I did think, okay, maybe I shouldn’t. And I got, no, I listen to people like, say Gary Vaynerchuk or just people who say, just put it out there. And so, that popped in my head, okay, I’m just going to put it out there. And that is just the way to go. And you just adjust from there. If you hesitate at all, you’re not going to end up ever doing it. And what’s the point? Like, either you don’t do it and you get nothing out of it, or you try it and either get something or nothing, but at least you can have the opportunity to get something out of it. So, yeah, it did crossed my mind, but I knew better, talk myself out of it and just made the video.

Brad Johnson: I love that. I’m big fan of Gary Vee. His strategy on Document, Don’t Create, I love because he’s like, if you’re constantly thinking about how do I create content, you’re creating content every day when you’re deejaying. So, it’s like, just document it and put it out, which I mean, just following your channel, I feel like, I’ve watched your more recent stuff. I haven’t gone back and watch the early stuff. I’m assuming the early stuff is still out there. Do you have the early?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yes.

Brad Johnson: Cool. And I always love…

DJ Eric Rhodes: We put something from back 2021, but yeah.

Brad Johnson: Nice. Well I just love that. I mean you even look at like MrBeast. I love that he’s got his first videos on YouTube because he’s like this little nerdy kid just trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. And I love just watching the journey. And back to Gary Vee, you’re already doing the work, now you’re just documenting and putting it out and then iterating. And if you have to do double work, which is I do my regular job, now, I have to go be a content creator. The beauty of today’s world, like if you’re doing something that serves people in your day to day, you can literally just put it out there and see what hits and what doesn’t, but that direct the path. So, okay, let’s go to, you start out on TikTok. It’s April 2021. When you say go viral, like, can you define what that means? What in the early days did going viral mean to you?

DJ Eric Rhodes: So, within a month I had a video get, I think, 250,000 views on TikTok. And so for me, that was huge. And that’s like viral. But then July 5 or 4, it doesn’t matter, but early July, I had a video get a million views within a few days. And Lance Bass from NSYNC commented on it because it had an NSYNC song. And I was like, “Okay, that’s viral.” It got someone famous. It got their attention. And yeah, that was my first viral video, which I feel like is a million views.

Brad Johnson: Okay. And so, all of this is still on the TikTok platform at the time?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yep, all TikTok. I tried to post some of the videos on Instagram and they didn’t perform well at that time. So, I was like, “Well, I’ll just focus on TikTok and keep it simple.”

Brad Johnson: So, let’s think, like start to get into the strategy part a little bit. So, you start putting– was this dropping a video every week? What was kind of your consistency at that point?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah. In the beginning, I was doing two to three videos a week and that was it. And then as I started to get some momentum, say, I don’t know, probably fall, winter of 2021, I tried to do almost every day and just put one out as often as I could, which was a lot. And then at that point, I also started to do TikTok Lives. So, I thought, okay, I want to engage my crowd. And I know that that’s a good strategy for someone like me is to just be very likable, just be myself, engage with them. So, I would do TikTok Lives and have a microphone and I’d mix a track and talk to them, and sometimes I’d sing over the song and like, I did really well on these Lives, and so I combine that with trying to produce a new video every day or every other day. It’s hard to be 100% consistent. But that was kind of my strategy to just keep the momentum going.

Brad Johnson: So, did you see any, like, if I look at growing a platform and an audience, how much thought did you put into, here’s my ideal watcher, viewer, listener, and this is kind of the demographic I want to go after? Or is it just the internet, and you’re like, I’m playing pretty well-known songs, it’s just going to figure itself out? And then did you see any difference when you’re doing one or two a week when you went to daily? Did that really ramp up the numbers? Like, how did you see that all play out?

DJ Eric Rhodes: For me, what I did is in the beginning, I didn’t really have a strategy, to be honest. I was just kind of winging it. And then certain videos would take off. Like, for example, I mixed NSYNC with TLC, that was the viral video. And I thought, “Oh, early 2000’s nostalgia.” And people are like, “Oh, it takes me back to when I was a teenager.” And so, I started to pay attention to all these comments, and I thought, “Okay, I’m going to do some more of that.” So, I may not mix those all the time, but I thought, okay, this would be fun. Let’s see what happens if I do like a Backstreet Boys and whatever. And that helped. That helped gain some momentum.

So, I almost see, like if I do country/hip-hop and a video does well, I’m going to go in on that just a little bit more to kind of nurture the new set of eyes that are coming onto my page and to kind of feed them that. I mean, I’m a DJ, so I mix everything. So, I’m all over the place, but I do try to have a little consistency here and there with certain styles, if that make sense.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, and I see, like when you do a country/hip-hop mashup, you’re getting both of those genres’ audiences, which is kind of cool. You’re like, here, the hip-hop people like it, and the country people like it. And so, when you go back to where you started to see the numbers pop, let’s go back. So, 2021, you’re primarily on TikTok. You ramped up the the drops, right? And you did some Lives.

If you’re thinking through a financial advisor lens, which I know you are not, but if you’re a financial advisor out there trying to start to grow an audience online, what are some of those strategies along the way that you think would cross over to finance? Is it the consistency and bumping that up? Is it seeing the content that hits and now going further down that path? But if you were going to coach a financial advisor, what sort of tips would you give them?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah. I suppose, you want to be as giving as possible with your crowd. So giving just real information that is going to help people and get them to want to, like, oh, I hadn’t thought about that or whatever it is. And then when they go to your comment section, engage with them. So, that really was huge for me was engaging. I was always in the comment section talking to people, answering DMs. When I went Live, I was recognizing people in those Lives. And my value was entertainment, right?

So, if your value is financial advising, what information does the average person not know and might appreciate? Give them that information very consistently, whatever that means for you, and think of the people that you’re helping when you produce the content. So, just keep it simple, right? If I’m new to learning how to invest, don’t give me the high-level stuff. Give me the very basic information and that’s how are you going to reach the masses if you’re trying to grow. And then you can build on that.

But it’s really being consistent with what you’re putting out there. Being yourself, not a robot. I see a lot of DJs try to copy what I do. Not that I was the first to do it. But when I watch it, there’s a disconnect there. Like, they’re not being themselves, and I can sense that. So, that’s really a big key is people want the human element and your natural personality to come out. And the authenticity is a used a lot, but that’s really true. And then, yeah, if you can go Live and talk to people, even if it’s just 10 people, start building that fan base that wants to come back every time you’re on.

Brad Johnson: The authenticity piece of that is so true. And if you and I were having this conversation and we weren’t being recorded, like, we’d just have a normal conversation, two dudes talking music, life, family, whatever, right? But all of a sudden, when that little record button clicks on, all of a sudden, some people freeze up or think they’ve got to be somebody else, or they get self-conscious, right? And myself included, I remember my early podcast, I was so worried about how I was going to show up, or am I going to say something dumb?

And the more reps I did, I just kind of settled in and got comfortable. Did you feel this, like your progression, like if you watch the early ones where you kind of uptight? Were you always just kind of natural and, like, you were always yourself? If it’s somebody that’s just starting recording, what tips would you give them to? Like, here’s how to just be comfortable in your own skin and be authentic.

DJ Eric Rhodes: It’s a hard thing to master, which sounds crazy because it’s just being you. But the key is, I don’t know, for me, it just felt natural. What am I doing? Like, if I’m mixing and no one’s watching, what am I doing? I was maybe self-aware, and I dance around and I sing and I’m just into it. So, I thought, okay, I’m going to do that and look in the camera when I do it. And so, I’m talking to the one person on the other side. So, being myself, but then I do have to recognize that I am talking to somebody, but not a group of people. I’m talking to you, not 200 people, because that might be, you’ll talk differently to 200. You’re really aware of that.

Brad Johnson: I think that’s such a good hack and honestly, that’s why I love podcasting because I am talking to one person, or maybe sometimes I interview a couple people at a time, but for right now, it’s me and Eric having a fun conversation. I’m curious, I’m learning. I don’t think about how many thousands of people are going to listen to this. If I did, I probably would start worrying about what I was saying, right? But if I’m just comfortable in it. So, that makes a lot of sense to me because you’re like, I’m just deejaying. And if somebody was across the DJ booth from me asking me what I’m mixing up, I’m just talking to them like one on one. Sounds like a very similar approach that you’re doing.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, I mean, some of my most viral videos, I’m just like, I’m setting up the video going, hey, check this out. I just came up with this. Like, you won’t believe how these sound together, but just trust me. I feel like I’m just talking to one of my boys, right? And I go, all right, listen. And I do it. You could do the same thing as a financial advisor. You’d be like, yeah. I just discovered this new technique. It’s crazy, like, here, let me show you. And just talk to that like a friend to a point you’re not even thinking about. I don’t even think about it anymore. But I had to in the beginning, just to make sure I was connecting with people.

Brad Johnson: Such a simple concept, but I love that. That’s like a hack right there. It’s like, don’t overthink it. You’re just talking to a buddy. Going back to serving your audience, I feel like one of the cool things about your context, we’re starting to get into analyzing how you put it out. It’s almost like you are. You’re like building or creating in public. And it’s like, hey, check this out, guys. I think you’ll like it.

But I feel like there’s also a little bit where you’re educating a little bit, like, I don’t know if it’s all of your stuff or if I maybe saw a video or two where it’s almost like, I think deejaying is really cool. There’s a science and an art to it, right? Like, syncing up the beats, but also it’s an artistic approach. So, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Do you ever get it, like when you were doing the Lives, were you getting a bunch of questions like, Eric, how do you do that? What’s your technique? What’s your strategy? Were you also educating people, like, here’s actually how to deejay? Was that how you served your audience or no?

DJ Eric Rhodes: I didn’t do a ton of it, to be honest. I did a little bit. People, if somebody ask me a question on a Live, it’s like, well, yeah, this orange button is this, and I can explain it to them. Gosh, now you got me thinking. I should do more of that, but I have done.

Brad Johnson: You have one viewer in Kansas if you do that.

DJ Eric Rhodes: I like it. But I’ve done some videos where I’ll go, oh, did you know that this song is sampled by this song? And I’ll go, here’s the sample that Jack Harlow used in Lovin on Me. And you hear the original R&B singer. And then I go, okay, now, here’s his version. Now what they did is they sped it up, changed the key. And now, here’s how it sounds when you do that. And now, it mimics the sample. I won’t get too deep. But yeah, so there is some education there. And I found that people love that because to me, it seems like obvious, but most people, it’s not obvious because they’re not in it.

Brad Johnson: So, it’s almost like a little bit of music history you’re working on a little bit.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Some of that, yeah. Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Cool.

DJ Eric Rhodes: I do like the idea of teaching what are these buttons doing and how does syncing up a song work. Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Well, Christy, who obviously you’ve interacted with on our experience team, and I’m very excited for you to come out to the Founder’s Retreat, which is very kid friendly. So, Do Business. Do Life, that means bring your crew, and a lot of our members do. I believe we’re going to do a deejay, how to deejay class with the kids. And I’m like, Christy, are you going to kick me out if the 43-year-old dude comes joins the kids class? So, we haven’t figured that out yet, but I bet there’d be some adults that would find it very interesting as well.

DJ Eric Rhodes: 100%. I get hit up all the time. I have a guy that just reached out. I think he’s into finance as well in California. And he’s like, Google me. I’m not a creep. I’m a legit dude, but I just want to fly you out to teach me in an afternoon how to deejay so I can have fun at my house, learning how to mix. I don’t want to be a professional. I just want to do it for fun. So, I have people hit me up all the time, grown adults, professionals who want me to teach them how to do it. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some adults there.

Brad Johnson: You probably have a whole ‘nother business model over on that side, assuming it fits the, hey, would I actually have fun doing this, right? So, let’s go back to the– you start to blow up on TikTok? I don’t know if we– two-pass, I’ll give you. You tell me which one makes the most sense. One is, how did that impact the business? How do you turn viewers or followers into actual revenue for your business? And then the other thing that’s in my head is, at what point did you start to expand and say, okay, TikTok’s blowing up, now I’m going to go to IG, now I’m going to go to YouTube, now I’m going to go to Facebook? Like, whichever of those two makes sense to hit in order.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah. So, let’s see. The first one was how to impact my business. Yeah, I went from doing private events, making three to five grand per event. Then, I was able to double, triple my rate and travel the nation doing private events. So, I hardly do anything in Boise now. So, I’m making double, triple my money, plus more events, plus brand deals, plus TikTok and Instagram pay you a little bit. I’m able to sell merchandise. What else? I know I’m forgetting something, but yeah, I mean, there’s just all these opportunities and collaborations with brands. It’s just dramatically changed my business 100%.

I’m selling all my DJ gear, speakers and things like that. I don’t have to have any of that stuff anymore. I get to deejay as talent, as a performer, and not have to bring equipment with me. The little things like that, that’s just things I dreamed about and set goals four years ago. Those are all coming to fruition, but yeah. Yeah, it’s great.

Brad Johnson: Awesome. And so, how did you– let’s just focus on TikTok. If you’re okay, let’s maybe go to IG because just looking at finance, I feel like most of financial advisors are on LinkedIn, Facebook/IG, and then YouTube. Those are kind of what I’d say the more standard platforms that our industry is on. So, I know you’re doing, well, what did you say, 850k followers right now on IG. And that’s more than doubled this year. So, you’ll be through a million, I’m guessing, very soon. Was that just people DM you and you’re booking things? Are you sending them to a website to fill out an intake form? How are you booking, going from there watching your videos to now they’re booking you for events?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah. So, a lot of it comes through my website, but through DMs as well. I’ve had some amazing opportunities come through. There are hidden DMs, which is where I see a lot of business come through. So, yeah, you click a tab that’s like other or something like that, and then there’s hidden DMs. People message me all the time saying, hey, what are your rates? We want to fly you out to Florida for a retreat in July.

Brad Johnson: Some company, maybe named Triad, got you.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, so that happens. But I’ve been strategic about how people will go to my storefront, which is my IG main page. They’re going to see that I make daily DJ reels and I have lots of followers. And then click here and you can book me and find music. And so, the first tabs on my Linktree is to go to my website, and that takes them to a page where they can fill out a contact form and then it goes from there. So, I get a lot of business that way, yeah, but what I really did is I found, I dig this.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, yeah, go ahead.

DJ Eric Rhodes: I grew up on TikTok, but I found that I wasn’t getting a ton of business from TikTok. And so, I thought, okay, IG, I keep hearing is where it’s at. Like, that’s where people like yourself, a professional, they’re mostly there. So, what I did, I think it was August or so, 2022. So, at that point, I had like 1.1 million followers on TikTok and maybe 5,000 on Instagram. So, I thought, okay, how am I going to grow this page? I just repurposed content. So, I took my viral videos, started posting those, and it didn’t take long before I did my Warren G/Morgan Wallen mashup, and Warren G shares.

Brad Johnson: That’s a good one. That was a good one, by the way. One of my favorites.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Thanks. Yeah, and you know he shared it. And that turned into a conversation with him about trying to get Morgan Wallen on board to make it an official track. And so, once I went to Instagram and started growing there, that’s when high-level people started contacting me and business really started to flourish from that. Feel like it established me more. I don’t know, there’s just a stigma, I think, attached to TikTok, where it’s just kind of, I don’t know. I don’t know how to describe it, but Instagram is very like, oh, you’re legit if you’re putting out content, you have a good followership.

Brad Johnson: This is completely just me being a 43-year-old dude not knowing. But I would say if I was to put blanket statements on platforms, TikTok would be like, I’ve got a 13, 14-year-old son now. That’s where all his buddies are at is TikTok. So, I feel like it’s just like a younger generation for the most part, where IG might be like– I feel like Facebook, when I was in college, it was the thing. Now, it’s the old people platform, and now I feel like IG just bolted on to it almost as a sister company. So, I just feel like there’s more of our demographic on IG. Have you found that to be true?

DJ Eric Rhodes: I think that’s fair. I do find that there are a lot of adults on TikTok too, but it’s just, I don’t know how to explain it. I think, I don’t know, but I think there definitely are less kids, more adults, more professionals, more serious people on Instagram than there are on TikTok.

Brad Johnson: Are there any different content strategies for you when you look at TikTok versus IG? Or is it the exact same content strategy?

DJ Eric Rhodes: I mean, TikTok for me is just putting out the videos, engaging in the comment section, and that’s about it for me, whereas Instagram is more multi-dimensional. I’m doing stories. I’m showing my family. If it’s a story I might just be talking to the camera, telling them what’s going on. I will be not doing that on TikTok. So, I feel like people really see the real me along with my DJ side on Instagram. And that’s where I feel like I’m showing everything and really building a culture. Yeah, IG is where it’s at for me is building a culture.

Brad Johnson: So, just because you brought it up and now, I’m curious and there’s got to be some other fun stories. So, you’ve officially had one of the Backstreet Boys engaged with your stuff. That was on TikTok. Or was that NSYNC?

DJ Eric Rhodes: NSYNC.

Brad Johnson: Okay, sorry. My boy band knowledge is– I was more of like a Limp Bizkit guy at that era. So, anyway, okay, so you had them engage on TikTok, then you went to IG. You dropped Warren G/Morgan Wallen track, and Warren G just DM’d you, said, this is good. He said, hey, I want to get– like, how did that come to be?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah. He shared it, followed me. He’s kind of a chill dude, so he didn’t really approach me. He shared it twice because I reposted it a couple times. First time, he just shared it. Reposted it again later in the year, then he shared it and tagged, I think, his manager or somebody. He was like, “Hey, let’s make this a thing. Let’s make this a track.” And then I DM’d him and I said, Warren, you want to make this a track. Can we talk, or whatever? And that started the conversation. So, I had to be proactive with that. But yeah, that turned into some conversations with him and trying to make it happen. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but…

Brad Johnson: Any other fun stories like that or mashups you’ve put out? Or it’s like, well, it’s the people, the artists are like, wow, this is really good.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, one of my favorites is Chris Stapleton. Now, we haven’t talked or anything, but I did a Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg, Nothin’ but a “G” Thang with one of his songs. And this is just a couple months ago, and he put it on his IG stories. And I was the only person on his IG stories for 24 hours. So, something like that, I was like, that’s pretty badass because I’m a huge fan of his music. But I have, I don’t know, I hate to namedrop, but like, I don’t know, like Brett Favre is a big fan of mine. And so, he’s always liking my stuff and engaging. And some people that I looked up to as a kid, Ken Griffey Jr., like, there are some big athletes that are big fans and followers of mine. So, that’s always really cool. Not a ton of conversations or collabs in that way from big names, but it’s probably only a matter of time.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, well, one of the things I found, and this is a content creation strategy. If you look at the content you’re creating, I look at the same thing on the podcast, like, here’s what’s cool. I’ve got my audience, you’ve got your audience. We’re basically doing a collab right now, right? Or this podcast is a collab. And you’re doing the same thing with music.

But what’s cool? And the lesson that I think advisors out there, I actually just did a coaching call this morning on a couple fun brothers, Dana and Tyler, out of San Antonio. They’re like, hey, they’re trying to figure out their podcast, their YouTube channel, what they want to do. And I’m like, guys, the benefit of a guest sort of format is if you put out great content and you bring people on that also have audiences and followings, like some of their people are going to watch your stuff and now, you are like organically growing. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. Like, artists who you’re mashing up are liking your stuff and now you’re getting put in front of their audience, which is bringing more people over to your channel.

So, do you use any of that in your strategy where you’re like, hey, here’s an up and comer? This song’s really hot right now. Let’s mash that in to grow the audience. I know you had one other strategy we want to get into here in a second, but do you think through that just when you’re picking which tracks to mix up?

DJ Eric Rhodes: That’s something that’s starting to be on my radar. I’ve had a– just this morning actually, like an hour ago, I had a kid who was on American Idol and did really well. And I’m sure he hit up a lot of DJs, but he hit me up. He was like, “Hey, I got this track. I want to promote it. I think what you do is cool.” It just got me thinking, like, okay, maybe I do mashup some up and coming person because he’s got a million-plus followers. And so, like, if I resonate, I got to like the music. I don’t want to be in the lounge or anything, but if it’s like, oh, that’s a good fit, let’s do it. Let’s help each other grow. I think that just makes sense. And I don’t even think about the money necessarily. It’s just really like, that’ll all come, what’s going to be fun and what’s going to help us grow and create cool new opportunities.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, you did one other strategy I saw. This has been a few months. You kind of went through the 90’s era and you did the top 10 songs from each year or something, I don’t know exactly. But you went through each year, and I’m like, well, shoot, that was my freshman year of high school, then my sophomore year. And of course, back to nostalgia, I’m watching every single one of them. I’m like, oh, dang, I forgot about that one.

And so, as far as different strategies, I feel like you do a good job of experimenting and you’re like, oh, that’s kind of taken off. Okay, we’re going to go further down that rabbit hole. Do you find you’re constantly kind of experimenting with different formats that way?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Absolutely, yeah. I think it does a couple things. One, it keeps the audience interested. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before doing the same old thing. People are just going to get bored with it and go, “Oh, yeah, we’ve seen that a million times.” So, yeah, keeping it fresh and interesting, I think, is important for your audience. But it’s also like when I was on that kick of doing those top 12 songs from 1997, that was fun for me. I’m getting nostalgic, like, oh, yeah, I forgot about that song. And so, I’m excited to put it out. And so, when I put it out, my enthusiasm shows, and that was fun to make and that I think just resonates with the audience. So, it’s keeping it fresh for them, but also keeping it fresh for me, too, to keep my excitement and creativity going.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Okay. So, you shared something before we hit record and you said, I think it was towards the end of last year. If I’m getting the dates wrong, just tell me. But you said, “Hey, my growth on my channels had kind of stalled for a little bit.” And what you did, which, I think this was a Gary Vaynerchuk strategy I heard from one of his videos. So, I don’t know if you got it there or if you just came up with it on your own. You went back to your most viral videos and you started repurposing them, almost like redropping them as a new release and that bumped you up again where you started to amplify growth again. So, if you’re dissecting your strategy, how did you go about that?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah. So, it was late November 2023, my pages, it literally just stalled. I could not grow my page for a couple weeks and I think it was like a 416,000 followers, actually. That was the number.

Brad Johnson: This was IG? I’m guessing.

DJ Eric Rhodes: IG. Yeah, Instagram.

Brad Johnson: Okay, yep.

DJ Eric Rhodes: So, I was like, all right, I’m going to post my most viral video, which is Morgan Wallen/Warren G, and let’s just see what happens. And so, I posted that and it started to gain momentum again. I’m like, hmmm. And I didn’t really hear this from anybody, but I just kept thinking like, well, I have all these– like, when I posted that, I had maybe 50,000 followers the first time. Now I have 416,000 followers. That’s a lot of people that have not seen this video yet.

Then I thought, well, how many people are actually on Instagram? I don’t know, a billion, who knows? Like, a ton. And I only have 400,000 followers. So, that is even a whole ‘nother pool of people that haven’t seen this video yet. And it’s not– like, it’s sort of evergreen, all of my content is. So, I thought, I’m just going to start posting all of my old stuff. I don’t have to try to be creative. I have this back catalog. And I started doing that and I gained so much momentum that way. Even my top 10 songs that we just talked about, I reposted those two, and some of them went really viral.

And I still use that strategy now to this day, like I’m getting ready for CMA Fest in Nashville, where I’m deejaying for Chevy. And now, I’m repurposing a lot of my country/hip-hop stuff to kind of create excitement for this week of country music. Nobody cares. Fans are going to love it because they’re fans. New people, well, may not have heard it. They might become new followers. There’s just nothing but benefit to repurposing that old content. So, I think it’s an unused or at least, not unused, but very minimal used strategy by people. And if you have, you keep doing it.

Brad Johnson: You’re just deejaying your greatest hits, man. It only makes sense. You’re a DJ. You’re just going back to your best stuff and play them again.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Well, think about Vanilla Ice, for example. That dude is still milking Ice Ice Baby. He’s still going to shows performing that same song. It was his big hit. Like, that’s part of who you are. I think part of who I am is Warren G, Regulate. I may get a little sick of it. Not yet, but it’s like, why not keep posting it? I’m going to keep promoting it, like it’s a big thing. Why not make that part of my strategy to put that out there every once in a while?

Brad Johnson: Vanilla Ice and Sir Mix-a-Lot. You play their two one-hit wonders and you watch our era just light up and end up on the dance floor every time.

DJ Eric Rhodes: They go crazy. Some of those songs, I know. For me, I’m like, I know this is going to be a big. Whatever I mash up with this, our age group is going to love it. I have some go-tos in that regard.

Brad Johnson: Have you done a Baby Got Back mashup yet?

DJ Eric Rhodes: You know I haven’t.

Brad Johnson: Just saying.

DJ Eric Rhodes: I’m going to tag you. Coming your way. Yeah, let’s party. I have not done Baby Got Back. That’s a good one.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. I think I was in sixth grade and I should not have probably been listening to that song in sixth grade, but I was, so. Well, cool. Okay. So, going back just to hit that last strategy home, now, like if we said, and I don’t know how dialed in you make this Eric, where you’re like, hey, no, here is my posting strategy, like, three new ones. One greatest hit that I work at. Let’s just focus on IG because it sounds like that’s kind of where you’re at right now. How frequently are you dropping new content on Instagram?

DJ Eric Rhodes: So, for me, daily. No, new content? So, regular content, I put it in my bio daily mixes for people who love music, something like that. That’s to hold myself accountable to either repost or post something new every single day. So, I still repost all the time. But new stuff, I try to do two to four new videos a week. Sometimes I might just post a picture telling a little story about where I came from or things like that. So, that might be a post that I make because I still do static post, too. But, yeah, I try to do something fresh two to four times a week and then repost old content, so that I have something every single day.

Brad Johnson: And when you’re creating new content, do you batch it, where like, hey, Friday is my cut new videos? And then obviously, you’re going to drip those out over the next week or two. Or are you just like, randomly, I’m producing content all throughout the week? Like, what you’re like– back to if I was a financial advisor, and I’m trying to develop a strategy to build a following on a platform, what have you found to hold you accountable, keep you consistent with dropping content is like a week in the life of DJ Eric Rhodes? It’s like, how would you like lay that out?

DJ Eric Rhodes: I think the smart thing to do is to batch your content, maybe spend Monday, coming up with your ideas, building all of that out, and then Tuesday, you spend your morning, afternoon, whatever it is, carve that time out, record it, and then have it ready to post whenever you decide to post it. What I typically do, though, is not that. But I do sometimes, and I’m like, man, I should do this more often, but I don’t. And I need to get back into it. So, I’ll tell you, that’s the smart thing to do.

But for me, if I’m working on a set for a DJ mix for Mixcloud or for Nashville, I’m coming up with new ideas, and usually, what happens to me, because I’m in this creative space, so I may go work on this mix, but then I go, I’m always thinking of mashups and content, and I may go down this rabbit hole of one song. What can I mix with this? Oh, my gosh, this would be amazing. I forgot about some mix a lot. And now, I’ll spend an hour trying to figure out what I could do, and then I’ll post because I act upon my impulse of creating it.

Brad Johnson: Got it. Yeah, you’re in the flow state, so you’re like, boom. I came up with this. It sounds kind of good. Record it right now in the moment.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, I do a lot of that. Or I’ll have an idea and I’ll just sit on it because it’s not quite right. And I’ll just pocket that and then show my wife later, be like, “Hey, what do you think of this?” I’ll do that a lot. Get her feedback, and then I’ll think, okay. I’ll work on a little bit longer and then when it’s ready, I post. So, it’s very, very random. But I know that’s not the best strategy, but it’s worked for me. But yeah, I think when I have batched, spent time, like really coming up with these things, they tend to do really well.

And yeah, I would say one thing with that though is like post consistently. Like, for me, I love posting seven, eight, nine in the morning, depending on what time zone I’m in. But that tends to– people love to start their day with this fresh content that I found in the evening when people are winding down after dinner. They typically are on their phone. So, I post sometimes in the evening. But being consistent, so people know when to expect it even if they’re not conscious of it is really helpful. Yeah, that’s a little side note.

Brad Johnson: It makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I think consistency is so key. To me, consistency does one other thing. It psychologically builds trust. It’s like this dude’s dependable. Constantly, he says on his thing daily and he’s dropping daily. And that was like my early days of podcasting that it was kind of an experiment early on. And I was doing one episode a month.

And then as I started to geek out a little bit, I’m like, wait, every legit podcaster is putting out at least an episode a week? And it was kind of like you. It was not my full-time gig. It still isn’t my full-time gig. But what I realized is if you can at least get to weekly, you can become part of a human’s routine. And so, now, I’ve got advisor every Friday– I drop every Wednesday at like 4:00 am, beat back to the people start their mornings a certain way.

But then, like one of our members out in Denver, David, you’ll meet him. He’s like every Friday morning, that’s my DBDL podcast. I listen to the new episode every Friday on the drive to work, and so, you can start to get in people’s weekly routines, which is probably exactly what you’re doing. People are probably waking up, getting ready for work. What’s the latest mix that dropped this morning?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, I honestly hadn’t really thought about it that way, but definitely it is. It’s the routine. I think I listen to a lot of Andy Frisella. I like his podcast. And he’s ridiculously consistent.

Brad Johnson: He’s the 75 Hard guy, right? The guy that came up with that.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah. So, I know like Mondays, I’m getting this podcast. Tuesdays, I’m getting this one. Wednesdays off, Thursdays this. It’s like, yeah, it’s become part of my routine. And so, yeah, doing that for other people is a great way to build your trust. Yeah, 100%.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, let’s go to, you’ve mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk, Andy Frisella. Are there content creators or just those that have influenced your approach to putting out content? And maybe it’s not just content, maybe it’s life in general, but who has influenced you and how, as you built your business?

DJ Eric Rhodes: Oh, man, if we’re going strictly content creators, there’s a couple. Man, I’m forgetting their names right now. We may have to cut this part.

Brad Johnson: The beauty of a podcast, we can always put it in the show notes. So, if you think of them, we can always throw them in. Are they music creators or just content, in general?

DJ Eric Rhodes: There are a couple creators that I follow, and I’m drawing a blank on their names right now, but we could put them in the show notes, but they just give you tidbits every day about what Instagram is doing with their algorithm, what Instagram’s ways to use your reels. And I think, they also focus on people who are trying to sell things like, I don’t feel like I’m trying to sell a lot, but I do pay attention to what they say. And it might be good for your audience is they teach you how to sell without selling, if that makes sense. It’s like a talk, but in a good way. And you can build a community, but also build an email list and all these things. And so, I love following these guys because I think just that kind of information is very beneficial, and they just give it out pretty freely. But yeah, I’ll try to remember. I’ll remember and get that to you so you can put it in.

Brad Johnson: Yes. Selfishly, I would love it for Triad. Kelly runs our social accounts. She’s awesome. And she’s 24, 25. So, she’s grown up this, like IGs, like the back of her hand. And I’m just the old guy that’s trying to figure it out. But what I love about IG is, like, especially stories, you can link, you can overlay music. There’s just so many creative things you can do to make it easy. Like, hey, like this. Click here if you want to learn more. And it’s super, super seamless, like no friction in the sales process or where you’re trying to send them. Are there other just thought leaders or like, hey, this book hit me and really influenced how I live my life or how I run my business? Anything else that’s really had a big influence on you?

DJ Eric Rhodes: It’s not a content creation thing, but since we’re talking finance, years ago, I read Dave Ramsey. What is it called? Now, I forget, but it’s Baby Steps.

Brad Johnson: He’s written a lot of them. So, it was a basically, like, getting out of debt. Obviously, that’s what he’s known for but…

DJ Eric Rhodes: Money makeover, yeah. So, that was one thing that, my wife and I came out of college and a little bit out of– right before we had kids, we had $90,000 in debt and paying all of that off over a matter of three years, was game changer for us. We were able to take risks. I was able to take risks in my business. I was able to get through COVID pretty easily compared to a lot of people I know in my industry because they were just buried in debt with equipment and all these things. And I just lived very much like a cash life.

And now, I’m starting to leverage debt a little bit, but I’m established now. I don’t feel like it’s going to get to take a little bit. So, he’s somebody that really helped me on my journey just in learning how to do that. Lewis Howes was a big, I listen to his podcast in the early days. A lot of stuff that he taught and talked about was really big for me. Who else? Man, that’s all I can think about top of my head.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. No, I love it. Your story on Ramsey, well, like to start Triad, I walked away from an incredible– I mean, I’d worked in the industry for someone else at a different company. And yeah, I was a small-town farm kid. I didn’t come from much, and I was making more money annually than I ever thought I would make in a lifetime. And that’s really scary to leave that behind, to go venture into the unknown, which you’ve done a couple times and start your own thing up.

And I remember, so one of my favorite books is The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. And it’s just kind of stoic thinking. It’s just a short passage each day. But one of the ones that always hit home with me, I forget the guy’s name, but he was a famous photographer, I believe. So, he’d do these photoshoots for these magazines. And of course, he’s an artist, so he’s like, I’m putting out the stuff I want to put out. And of course, the magazine is like, here’s what we need. And sometimes they didn’t always agree. And he goes, he was giving advice to another photographer in this store. And he’s like, “You know what, kid? If you don’t take their money, they can’t control you.” And what I love, because sometimes he would just do the work and not bill them. And he’s like, they can’t tell me what to do, I’m not asking to get paid.

And so, I look at that, like in your story, getting out of debt. If you have debt, it controls you. If you get out of debt, you have freedom. If you’re controlled by a biweekly paycheck and you can’t live without it, now you’re controlled. If you can live without it, now you have freedom to do what you want. And so, I just think it’s a really good lesson in life to live by. And it’s not as scary if you’re not venturing into the unknown with no money, if you’re prepared.

DJ Eric Rhodes: I love that.

Brad Johnson: That hits home with me, man.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, I love that. And part of my strategy now is like, okay, my income for the most part is dependent on me performing. And so, my next level is like, okay, how do I earn income without having to be there? And so, I’ve always known that, but I think I’ve hit a spot where now I can figure that out. So, if something happens to me, my family’s still good. I’m still in it. And yeah, I’m not dependent on me now, but what I can build and invest it in.

Brad Johnson: Well, it’s funny. Literally, that’s one of the reasons financial advisors come to Triad, Eric, is it’s like they want to build a business that’s bigger than them because most financial advisors, it’s like being a DJ, they have to show up, do the appointment to drive revenue. And as you start to build a business with multiple team members, for them, that’s oftentimes cloning themselves, so they’re not the only selling advisor driving revenue. But I think that’s a really important thing in life. We call it the hit by a bus test. It’s not a business if you get hit by a bus. One person gets hit by a bus and the business is done. And so, I think anything you’re building, you want that freedom to where it outlives you. All the businesses that we admire, whether it’s Apple, or Steve Jobs is no longer around. But guess what? They’re still selling a lot of iPhones. So, he built a pretty cool business.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, love it.

Brad Johnson: Well, hey, I know we’re getting at the end, man. It flew. I knew it would. So, we’re going to have to throw the Warren G/Morgan Wallen mashup. We’re going to have to throw that in the show notes. So, if there’s any others that are some of your favorites, maybe your top five favorites or whatever, like when you get the couple other influencers, just drop that to me in an email or text, and we’ll throw that out in the show notes, so everybody that hasn’t seen your stuff can check it out.

DJ Eric Rhodes: For sure.

Brad Johnson: I’ve got just one final question on my side. So, at Triad, I’m excited. Number one, you’re going to get to experience this and hopefully, it works for the family too. We’d love to have them out. And so, we’ve got the Do Business. Do Life Founders Retreat, which fortunate enough that you’re going to be joining us this summer. And this is the Do Business. Do Life podcast. So, for us, our mission at Triad is to help our members level up in business and in life. And for us, that’s the infinite game. Your business is never going to, good life is never going too good to call it quits. So, I’m just curious, what is Eric Rhodes’ definition of doing business, doing life? What’s that mean to you?

DJ Eric Rhodes: I think how you live your personal life and how you live your life in general is all tied to your business. If I’m full of anxiety or have a rough patch with my wife, I think that affects my business. It affects how I show up. So, I used to think of them as separate, life and business, but it’s all intertwined in one. And so, doing business and doing life, it’s one and the same. And I always try to do my best all the time and always work on getting better and improving who I am and how I work and how I treat people. And all of that just elevates everything, elevates your relationships, it elevates your income, it elevates all of it. And so, just living that way is doing business and doing life.

Brad Johnson: I love it, man. And what’s cool in this story and what you’ve shared with us today, like you’ve modeled that, you haven’t just talked about it like you’ve made the decisions in life. You’re like, hey, I don’t really like this job. I’m going to change so I can live life on my terms. And guess what? Your business blew up right along with it. So, it’s awesome to see how that’s played out for you, man. Well, thank you so much, Eric. Love the conversation. Can’t wait to get this one out to the world and excited to hang in person here in a few months. So, thanks for coming on.

DJ Eric Rhodes: Yeah, you’re welcome. Brad, man. Thank you for having me.

Brad Johnson: All right, man, till we see each other in person. Take care.

Disclosure

These conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies,
concepts and tools that could be incorporated into the advisory practice, advisors are
responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed is in accordance with
any and all regulatory and compliance responsibilities and obligations.

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