Friday, March 27, 2009

Fred Castaneda of the Struggling Entrepreneur Talks about Podcasting and Entrepreneurism

Fred Castaneda of the Struggling Entrepreneur Talks about Podcasting and Entrepreneurism

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Mexico and Spanish is my native language, but I have spent the last 52 years here in the US. Although I am a permanent resident alien, I did serve in the US Army as a combat infantryman during the Vietnam War, as my draft number was #29 in the first lottery. And I have studied many languages-- Latin, Greek, French, German, and I speak fluent Spanish and English.

What university did you go to?

I have attended the following universities:
- Loyola University of Los Angeles (B.A.)
- Loyola Marymount University (M.B.A.)
- ITESM (aka "Monterrey Tech" in Mexico City- MBA program)
- Western State University (Law School, Calif.)
- KW University - PhD candidate in International Business

What brought you to Austin?

I came to Austin as a transfer from Dallas during my IBM career (I have just retired from IBM after 31 years in Systems Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Social Media, New Media, Podcasting and Software Development).

What is the idea behind your group focused on podcasting?

I have been a podcaster for 3 years, and I currently have 8 podcasts. I also am the organizer for the AUSTIN PODCASTERS GROUP with meetup sessions every month for the past 2 years. My idea is to provide the skills, technology, updates and best practices for the podcaster community of entrepreneurs in Austin, as well as nationwide (during the Telesummits and conferences in the US).

What need does it fulfill?

Podcasting fulfills the need of exposure, awareness, demand-generation & fulfillment, delivery of content and sales of premium content for the Small Business Owner and Entrepreneur--regardless of what product or service is being sold and/or delivered to the clients and customers. Including the proper format of both audio and video podcasts in this delivery channel can add to the marketing mix of the entrepreneur's firm, thus increasing revenue and profitability, while enhancing a competitive, differential advantage.

What exactly does your group do?

The Podcast of http://www.strugglingentrepreneur serves to provide lessons learned, best practices and case studies of the "entrepreneur's story" to the audiences of both aspiring entrepreneurs (aka "dreamers") and also the recently-launched entrepreneurs (aka "newbies"). It also delivers awareness of organizations that provide assistance, value and help to the entrepreneur (e.g., SCORE, BIGAustin, the Business Success Center, etc.).

The Austin Podcasters Group creates a community of entrepreneurs and other podcasters who wish to create and publish podcasts to enhance the marketing strategy of their company.

Whom is it for?

The AUSTIN PODCASTERS GROUP -- We support podcasters from every industry and at every level--from beginning to advanced.

The podcast series of THE STRUGGLING ENTREPRENEUR is for the individual who dreams about starting a business (either on a part-time or full-time basis), or has recently launched a business. It is also for the audiences that want to learn about entrepreneurship from the case studies, success stories and the personal experiences of those interviewed in the series.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the group?

(1) THE AUSTIN PODCASTERS GROUP - the challenge was taking a group that was about to fold and close its doors, because the leader of the group at the time, Mark Lassoff, wanted to terminate the group. However, with the insistence of a fellow podcaster (who has THE COMIC BOOK PAGE PODCAST), I took over as leader and saved the group from the brink of extinction to its current status of over 69 members. Also, in February, we have outgrown our current venue for meetings.

The other obstacle was funding out of my own pocket the cost of using the MEETUP FACILITY--that's right! the membership pays nothing for belonging to the group.

For the STRUGGLING ENTREPRENEUR podcast, the most challenging aspect was getting the podcast launched and keeping the success of the podcast in line with the quality of the content. That is, I have turned down all the offers for advertising from multiple vendors--mainly, because I do not want the quality and integrity of the podcast to suffer and lose my audience because they may think that I now have a credibility and integrity compromise. To this date, there has been no sponsorship or advertising. Thus, the content is free from ads and is not affected by others paying for their content to be pushed in the podcast.

What is the next step for you and your group?

For the AUSTIN PODCASTERS GROUP, the next step is to grow the group close to 100, and then transition the leadership to another member, with the model that the "baton" needs to be passed to other members--so that the group is really the members' group, and not mine.

Also, a sharing of the podcasts being done by the current membership will allow the exposure of the entrepreneurs with their podcasts.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

Subscribe to the podcast series of
WHY? Because every entrepreneur has a story, and one of the key items we ask in every interview is HOW they overcame their obstacles, as well as recommendations and "words of wisdom" from their entrepreneurial experiences for the "dreamer" and the "newbie." You can always learn from the experiences of others.
Remember the saying:
"Good judgement comes from experience; and experience comes from bad judgment."
Thus, let's learn from the experiences of others, so that we can avoid the pitfalls and become more successful with fewer chances for struggling with the obstacles to having a successful business in the shortest amount of time with the biggest return!

Best regards,
Hall T.

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