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Episode 102: A Podcasters Life with Northwest Arkansas’ Go Rogue X

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102 - A Podcasters Life with Northwest Arkansas' Go Rogue X

TZL Open [0:11] It's time for another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, the podcast covering the intersection of business, culture, entrepreneurship, and life in general here in the Ozarks. Whether you are considering a move to this area or trying to learn more about the place you call home, we have got something special for you. Here's our host, Randy Wilburn.

Randy Wilburn [0:42] Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. The podcast that covers the intersection of business culture, entrepreneurship, and life here in the Ozarks. I'm your host, Randy Wilburn. I'm excited to be with you guys today because I'm sitting in front of and, of course, you guys know that those of you that listen to this podcast, it's been a minute since I've been in front of a bunch of guests. For the podcast, everything's been virtual, whether through a couple of different programs that I use online to interview people, but it's nice being in front of living, breathing human beings in front of me. And these guys are really special because they had me on their podcast, which I will put in the Show Notes once that episode comes out. But I am here today at Go Rogue X up in the beautiful Bentonville. It is 70 degrees today. This is as it's recorded. It's November 3, for those in the states listening to this, not that there are people outside of the states, but if you are, this is election day. And this is a big deal here in the United States of America. If you have been under a rock anywhere, you know that today is a big deal, more so than any other time because it's our National Presidential election. So, I don't know what the end of this day will bring, but as of right now, as we're recording this, we are going to have some fun with these guys. So, I'm here with Bryan Fittin and Lauren Lewis, and these guys run, Go Rogue X. They are just an outstanding organization that does a lot of the same things that I do. But they even have taken it to another level because they involve video, they do a lot of work with the community and we are going to learn more about them today. I actually met Bryan directly through my involvement with Startup Junkie and their One Million Cups program. Startup Junkie invited me to be there, and I had no idea what One Million Cups was all about. I had heard of it, but I wasn't as familiar with it, but it was an outstanding program. And I will put a link to that in the Show Notes as well. I think you guys would like to watch it. I told my story on that particular show, which was a video that has been made available and been watched by quite a few people. Bryan is the guy behind the scenes there with Startup Junkie that puts it all together. He does fantastic videos and amazing podcasting. I said we got to get you on the show, so here he is today. So, Bryan, Lauren, how are you guys doing?

Bryan / Lauren [2:53] So good?

Randy Wilburn [2:54] I know it's a long intro but I wanted to warm up the crowd and make sure that everybody understands what is going on. But I think it's important, though, and the reason why I'm really excited to do this episode is that there is a whole new ecosystem of creators in Northwest Arkansas. You guys are part of that. I'm part of that. Other people are part of it, making headway and doing some things that haven't been the traditional focus for new media for some of the different ways people are creating and putting information out there. I'm impressed with your operation, so I wanted to sit down with you guys and learn more about what Go Rogue X is all about and how you guys are cornering your little slice of the market here in Northwest Arkansas, and what you see for the future. As my audience knows, we always start with this, and because I have two people in front of me, I got to get two superhero origin stories. So, Bryan, I'm going to let the lady go first. Lauren, I'm going to put you on the spot. Why don't you give us the cliff note version of your superhero origin story and how did you get to be here at Go Rogue X?

Lauren Lewis [4:02] That is an interesting story. So, I got into Social Media Management and worked for a chiropractic clinic in Fayetteville, which was really fun. It got me interested in social media and all those things that go with that. I have a background in writing, and so I started doing some blogging actually for Bryan. He continued to find work for me, and so I began building up quite an invoice. And Bryan was like, maybe we should create a position for you. In January of, I guess it was 2019, I came on as his Project Manager. The business was a lot smaller back then, very different perimeters now and we feel like it changes every four months. It's an entirely different business at this moment. And then probably at the beginning of 2020, I would say is when I moved into it as we realized I wasn't really acting as a Project Manager and so, I moved into being more of the Director of Operations here. So, as Bryan says, I'm the director of the stuff, so I help our clients and contractors. That's really where my passion is, building the Dream Team and getting them an opportunity to make cool stuff and get it displayed through our clients.

Randy Wilburn [5:11] That's awesome. Did you ever imagine when you were working with that chiropractor that you would be getting heavily involved with podcasting and videos?

Lauren Lewis [5:18] No, definitely not. I did have a little background. I did get a chance. I'm a licensed high school teacher, and so I got to teach TV broadcasting. It was really cool that I had this background because I knew the vernacular he talked about when I started for Bryan. I wasn't a pro and Bryan knows that, but at least I knew what he was talking about when he asked to put some B roll on. I could help him, and I knew Final Cut Pro and I could edit a little bit. It helps a lot.

Randy Wilburn [5:44] You do enough to be dangerous. Well, that's good, and I'm glad you're here. As I say, anybody starting a business and Bryan, I'm sure you can attribute to this, you always have to have people in your corner that can help you out. So, I'm sure that he appreciates having you there to do that. I’m a solo shop and I do have some assistants. I have a virtual assistant in Jamaica, and I have two assistants in the Philippines, so I'm not totally by myself, but these guys are separated from me. I don't see them every day like Bryan gets to see you, so there's that benefit there and you have a bigger team, it's not just you, it's other folks here. I've been impressed with your operation, so I want to applaud you guys for what you have done, and now you are creating your little niche. And so, Bryan, I would love for you to, in that vein, tell us a little bit about you and how you ended up here and also where I can get an Onyx hat like that? He's got one of those cool snapback onyx hats. I love Onyx, and they have been a guest on the podcast a few times. Why don't you tell our audience a little bit about who Bryan is?

Bryan Fittin [6:52] I wear a lot of hats, literally [no pun intended]. So, I've been in the corporate world for all of my careers and always had this desire to do something outside. I've been a creative photographer video for over ten years and never really found my niche in that space. I always enjoyed it and still enjoy creating. In 2014, Eric Hanson, Owner and CEO of Explainify, would say make explainer videos online. Some of their clients are like Expedia and they have worked with Walmart and different bigger organizations. We have been friends, and he was going through some business changes as well. And he said I need to get better about getting out in the community and talking with people. And I said, I've always wanted to do podcasts, podcasts were becoming part of my life, and so, we started just a once a month episode, where we interviewed people in Northwest Arkansas similar to what you're doing more in the tech niche. So, just really not having any expectations other than just getting in front of people and getting to know the community and stuff up here. That played out for a while, but that got the bug for me, so I started several. My wife actually has a pretty successful podcast called the Adoptive Mom, and she is about to hit 90,000 downloads, and she has only had that a few years. That really helped fuel me because I started to get in the marketing stuff with her and started to see it take off. Her Facebook Group and how she helped the community and I always wanted to do more of that. In 2018, I had several business serial entrepreneurs still working within the corporate world, having all these side hustles. Anyway, 2019 took off with Go Rogue X, and Lauren expressed that we were giving her quite a bit of work and all of a sudden, I realized that working my full-time job, I needed that help and I wasn't quite ready to make the jump. Essentially, this year I was able to go full-time from 14 years in the corporate world to now doing this full-time and adjusting that schedule- not so many nights and weekends, which is nice. But that journey has just taught me so much and you said you need help in these situations and I'm very blessed to have the team of creatives around me, a team of people that we contract out. We work with friends and it has just been a great community of people to help build this organization.

Randy Wilburn [9:25] I love hearing that. It gives me goosebumps just hearing your story about making that transition. I would love for you to expand upon what it meant for you to leave corporate America because when you think about Northwest Arkansas, this is a very corporate environment. You have got all these major companies that are here Walmart, Tyson, JB Hunt, the list goes on and on, and then, of course, you have all the residual companies attached to Walmart. But tell me, what was it like for you making that jump. I know some people are listening, and while this podcast isn't hyper-focused on people starting a business, we do want to promote and celebrate that. And so, I would love for you to tell us about making that mental leap from corporate America to doing this. The one thing that I have learned in running my own business, which I've been doing for a number of years now, is that you're always on. When you work for a company, you can turn it on, you can turn it off, but with this, you're always on. I would love for you to expand upon that just a little bit and share with the audience what it means to take your side hustle to become your main hustle.

Brian Fittin [10:29] I think we are still figuring that out. It is a day-to-day process. I think just getting prepared. Lauren again has helped with making that transition easy and what it looks like for finances. I'm going from a six-figure corporate job that I've worked in for 14 years. I enjoyed the job. It was a bittersweet moment because the company took care of me, it was great, and the flexibility of my schedule allowed me to build this business. And so, I would say, Dave Ramsey made this quote if you can get to 80 percent of your salary and then you feel comfortable enough to jump. And so, I felt like there was a moment where we will never have enough in savings. We will never have enough stuff planned out, and I wanted to honor the company I worked for without being a bad employee and focusing so much on the business. And so, at that moment, I realized that my integrity, my character, even though I didn’t fully feel like I'm ready to make this jump, I just needed to do that and I have not regretted it. It has been great. We have had an influx of work, and it has definitely hit me like some type of hurricane because all new stresses are coming out of that security. But then also, it's been fun, it's been a blast, and we have definitely dealt with the new stresses and the ways that we can and planning out the future, building a team, building vision, casting, and all the things to make a company work has been fun.

Randy Wilburn [11:56] You actually bring up a really good point there because I think a lot of times, at least I have found and maybe you can correct me if you think it's different for you, but when I'm working with a lot of companies that I've done work with when I made the transition to focusing on this full time, and they saw it, all of a sudden, all this new work just showed up. Before, it's like, oh, well, Bryan, he's doing this. Still, he’s also working full time, so I'm not going to throw much on his plate, and then all of a sudden, once you throw it out there and put it out into the universe that, hey, I'm doing this full time, this is how I'm going to feed my family, all of a sudden, things start opening up. You’re like, oh, I didn't realize this was all there. Would you agree with that?

Bryan Fittin [12:37] I would. And just the simple fact, too, especially in our community up here, people want to help you. And so, all of a sudden, it's like, we have been talking about this stuff for years. Startup Junkie was a phenomenal partner of ours too and promoted us within the community. This has helped me saying, hey, I'm full-time and it has allowed me to create more content. People that I don't even know have been following us for years and just saying, hey, it's great to see you go full-time. I didn’t realize you were out there paying attention, so it's super encouraging.

Randy Wilburn [13:16] I love that. So, tell me, you started with podcasting, and I would like to make that the focal point of this because we are both fellow podcasters. It's still a new medium and I talk about this a lot. I just did a big training for podcast movement, one of the largest podcast programs put on every year. It’s a great program and I know you have been down to pod fest. There's a lot of things with the word pod at the beginning of it, but talk about just what podcasting has meant for you and how it's giving you a platform to tell your story and to tell other people's stories?

Bryan Fittin [13:49] I love podcasting because it's such an intimate connection with your listener. Right now, somebody's listening to us, in your ears. There's such an intimate connection with the host and storytelling. There are so many things that I just love about podcasting in general that the traditional mediums don't have. We have been able to work that in with the video aspect, me being more of a video photographer guy, and then just mixing in my knowledge. I've learned stuff from you too, Randy, about podcasting, because I don't feel like I'm the expert in that area necessarily. Still, it’s definitely been fun to include in this video, a storytelling process, especially with businesses. They are just not tapping into it as much as they need to. Everybody thinks podcasting Will Serial was phenomenal. The Pat Flynn fan that I am too, and I know that you know Pat and so being able to take that knowledge and information that they're giving and to be able to launch different products, or whatever we are doing, there are so many things you can do with podcasts. And there’s just a phenomenal community of people talking about podcast movement or pod fest. We just felt like that's family. It is such a small world, but it's been so much fun.

Randy Wilburn [15:10] Well, yes, the podcast community reminds me a lot of the Northwest Arkansas community. And what I mean by that is that this is a giving place. I say it all the time. I know I sound like a broken record, but wait. Are you both from here? Would you consider yourselves locals?

Lauren Lewis [15:27] I think so? I grew up in Little Rock and then moved to College and stayed.

Randy Wilburn [15:31] And you never went back to Central Arkansas. Because people always ask me how far are you from Little Rock? And I'm like, I'm actually closer to Tulsa than I am to Little Rock. It’s just different.

Lauren Lewis [15:44] They're working on making it better, but it’s nothing compared to Northwest Arkansas.

Randy Wilburn [15:49] Nobody ever says keep it funky Little Rock [Laughter]. So, what about you, Bryan?

Bryan Fittin [15:57] Fort Smith originally, just right down the road, the River Valley area. I was born there, grew up there and when I got into the corporate world, I moved across the United States, but then came back here to start a family.

Randy Wilburn [16:10] That’s cool. For the uninitiated that are listening to this, maybe thinking about moving to Northwest Arkansas, the River Valley is like where our cousins live about 30 miles down the road from Fayetteville. The difference in weather can be like 10 or 15 degrees, especially in the summertime. Our news shows the weather, both like in the mountains, which would be Fayetteville and the rest of Northwest Arkansas, and then it has the River Valley. So, anything Fort Smith and below, you can see a huge difference in weather, and as you keep going further south, I think that's interesting.

Bryan Fittin [16:45] I love it up here, too. Even in the past 5, 10 years, it has changed dramatically.

Randy Wilburn [16:53] That’s great. I love hearing that and I love explaining to people the differences between these areas because everybody thinks that Little Rock and Fayetteville are right near each other. They just geographically don't know about the State and that's the thing that I've learned, and obviously, I'm the newest guy on the block compared to you guys. You guys are lifers. You have been here all your life. And the funny thing, and I've told this story before, when I was in third grade, they weren't 50 kids in the classroom, but each kid was asked to choose a state. And you were going to do a 3D model of the state. This was a big deal back in the day. I'm a little older than you guys, but I was eight, so that was 43 years ago. And I remember my third-grade teacher asked me, what State do you want to do? And guess what State I chose? I chose Arkansas and I still have that 3D model. It's at my mom's house. She still has it. And it was funny because that was the first that I really learned about the Ozark, and then you look at it, it's almost kind of prophetic if you believe in those things. A long time ago, as a kid, I put this out there into the universe, and then six years later, I'm loving life in the Ozarks. If you had told me ten years ago, you're going to be living in Arkansas, I would have been like, no way. I talked to one of your colleagues, and we both share a mutual respect for the Bay Area. I've been all over the world, but I got to tell people all the time, don't judge it until you have come here and tried it. Am I right about that?

Bryan Fittin [18:28] Yes, absolutely. They were really on me moving here, I was like, on the fence. At that point, I was like, maybe I will stay here a few years. I'd like to be in the Pacific Northwest. That’s where I have a lot of friends and grew up going out there. It’s so beautiful. That was my plan. When we got here and started my family, it was like we don't really want to go anywhere. It has everything that we need here. Amazing community, people, businesses, and everything seems to be thriving. And even if it wasn't at the scale that it is, it's still just an amazing place to be.

Randy Wilburn [19:06] It is. So tell me when you're not working, and you're not busy learning all the new things, the nuances of video or keeping up as I like to do with the latest technology, what do you guys want to do here in Northwest Arkansas that really kind of sets it apart for you?

Lauren Lewis [19:23] One of my favorite activities is my college roommate from U of A. We both moved away, then we both came back. We love to try all the breakfast places across Northwest Arkansas from Fayetteville up to Bentonville. And so that's one of our favorite things to do. There are always new businesses, which I love about Northwest Arkansas and new places sprouting up and so there's always ample opportunity for that. I love supporting local businesses or going to the Farmers’ Market, which is definitely a favorite. Particularly, I know The Walton’s have poured their heart and soul into this community. I love being in the Bentonville area with Crystal Bridges, the Amazeum for my kids. I’m very excited about the project they just announced about the giant playscape that they're going to do outdoors in connection with Crystal Bridges. I can't wait for my boys to be able to play on that.

Randy Wilburn [20:19] It's along the same lines as the landing in Tulsa which is just an outdoor Park that's phenomenal. I think it was voted the best park in the country. It's beautiful. You take your kids there; they're not going to want to leave. I'm just putting it out there. That's cool. I don't want to put you on the spot but I'm going to ask you. Which is your favorite breakfast spot?

Lauren Lewis [20:46] It depends. But I will say one of my favorite places in College was the Little Bread Company. It’s such a hole in the wall. And they sell these cream puffs that are as big as your head, which is awesome. But then, recently, the new kid on the block would probably be The Buttered Biscuit, which they have opened three locations. They have done a phenomenal job. I hated that they opened their newest location right as COVID hit. We got to interview the owners, and it was cool to hear them pouring their hearts into this community and their desire for just an amazing breakfast place. It’s also a good coffee place for meetings. I've enjoyed having brunch with a lot of different women and for meetings, and it's been fantastic.

Randy Wilburn [21:28] There’s nothing like a good breakfast spot and that's one of my favorites. I also like Farmer’s Table, which is really good. Yes, Little Bread Company is excellent and that's in Fayetteville. Butter Biscuit has three locations. Where are those locations?

Lauren Lewis [21:42] They have two in Bentonville, one on Moberly and then on Airport Regional Road. There is also one in Springdale.

Randy Wilburn [21:48] Okay. We will put that information in the Show Notes. So, Bryan, what about you? You look like you like to eat. I don't mean it that way. I look like I like to eat too. Trust me, I'm not missing any meals.

Bryan Fittin [22:01] I take no offense. I do enjoy some good breakfast, and Butter Biscuit is one of my favorites. I was trying to think of hobbies and stuff we do around, and it seems like work consumes my life a little too much. But one thing that we enjoy about Northwest Arkansas is the nonprofits up here. So, I've been honored to be on the Board of Nonprofits, specifically around adoption foster care. We are foster parents and adopted through them, which has always held a place in our hearts. And so, being able to get connected with more non-profit organizations, there are so many up here that have amazing missions and ways to get involved and volunteer. I would say there are so many generous people here in the community. I believe The Walton’s investing in Northwest Arkansas has fueled more generosity up here as well. I've seen a lot of the non-profits thrive in that space. But on the fun side, I will say mountain biking. I used to do that before we had kids and that was a lot of fun, but once we had kids, that slowed down. But now they're getting to where they can get riding again, so I've been doing some trail riding. We can’t talk about it enough up here. I feel like I'm still a newbie when it comes to the expansion of the trail system and the Greenway. Even over the past couple of years, it has been so good.

Randy Wilburn [23:27] You can ride over 100 miles on the trail easily. I have a 10-year old and he's very athletic and I took him out on a bike ride with me probably about a month ago, and we rode the Greenway. I took him towards Dixon and back to our house from where we live. It pretty much trails the entire way- some brand-new trails coming from Gulley Park in Fayetteville. He rode 11 miles with me and he's only 10. He had more gas in the tank when he was done, so I was impressed. Those are the things that you can do around here that make it special. Of course, up here, we are not far from the 8th Street Market, and then right across from the 8th Street Market, it looks like a little mountain bike park. And it's got a little pump track and some other stuff there. I got to take the kids there; then we will have lunch at the 8th Street Market and then get on our mountain bikes. It's funny because mountain biking is even more pronounced up here in Bentonville than in Fayetteville. I ride with a lot of guys and gals and we are more on road bikes. There is more of a mountain bike culture up here. Anywhere I live in Bentonville, I can just ride up a couple of blocks and I can jump on a trail somewhere. We are not afforded that. We can go on the Razorback Greenway, but we don't have a bunch of mountain bike trails. Now we do have some dry gravel riding that we can do and so, there's a lot that's happening. There's just a huge bike culture in Northwest Arkansas and it's a lot of fun. So, tell me a little more about Go Rogue X and where you guys are going with this? And what does the future hold for you? I'm asking this with anticipation because I get excited when I see other people doing what I do. It gives me ideas and informs me of some of the directions that I want to go and not that I want to copy anybody but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There's nothing new under the sun. You can't capture the whole market, I can't capture the whole market. We are all out here doing the same thing by supporting each other, but I would love for you to share where you see things going and what's next?

Bryan Fittin [25:49] I think, specifically in the photographer video community, the abundance of work has always been a focus. And so, I've tried to take that into this world as well, like podcasting is such a niche market. With us specifically, we have focused more on the b2b side, so businesses having podcasts putting a face with their brand. So, video marketing specifically is overwhelming, whether for a small business, medium-size, or a large organization, not knowing exactly what to do. It can be a daunting task. We have tried to take that and make it pretty simple for our clients, so we focus on the video, but we follow a lot of the Gary Vee content model, which is a lot of repurposing. So, we take that pillar piece of content, break it up over multiple areas and tailor the content to fit whatever platform. If you're on Instagram, you're not consuming content, like you would on LinkedIn, Tik Tok, or whatever it is. We have tried to tailor that content specifically for that audience and guide our clients through this process, where they do have a podcast, but there is more of a heavy focus on the video aspect. Would you agree?

Lauren Lewis [27:08] Yes. I think we have just realized that there are so many businesses out there that just don't have the time that they need to devote to their social media channels. They know they need to do it and want to have a podcast, and a lot of them will record a podcast and then that's all they do. And we realize there's so much more that you can do with that. No one will find out about your podcast if you don't develop some content to deal with it. And so, we help them be able to strategize around their podcasts and get the word out and then save them time by helping develop that strategy and posting content for them.

Randy Wilburn [27:44] I think it's important. And I'm just going to interject here and just share, and I know you guys understand this. I believe it is important for anybody listening to this, that you don't necessarily create a podcast that you think the masses will gravitate towards. It's very rare that you're going to turn around tomorrow and your podcast will be as popular as Joe Rogan's. I'm just using him as one example, but there are so many others out there where they're not talking about downloads in the hundreds or the 1000s, they are talking about the millions per episode. And so, the reality is, that's probably not in the cards for you, but you have a story to tell and there are people that want to hear that story. Whether 15, or 1500, that story needs to be told, and podcasting, I think personally, and this is just me talking, is probably one of the best formats and platforms to do it.

Ryan Fittin [28:38] I agree with you, 100 percent. I think the expectation for a lot of people starting podcasts is that, well, I want to be the next Joe Rogan. We deal with a lot of clients who are in a very small industry or something like that. We have one client that's very successful in a construction services niche. And so, it is funny, because it's like, several hundred downloads per episode is good. After all, that market is, in and of itself is only a few 1000 people. If you're tapping into even a small percentage of that, you're doing a great job. I think you have to look at it. What is the size of my audience to begin with rather than what are my downloads? And, is that success to me, and I think you hit on it before too. Success should not be the downloads; it should be the impact that you're making. Making sure your voice is heard and your story is told, or if you're highlighting other people, which is what you do, Randy, being able to say, I want to promote you and what you're doing which is so valuable.

Randy Wilburn [29:39] It's so funny. I had that conversation with a client because I do something very similar exclusively on the podcasting side, where I help clients get their voice out there and tell their story. After all, we all have one to tell. But I had to break it down because she was so caught up with her analytics on Buzzsprout, she was thinking purely as a marketer from an analytic standpoint. I'm like, don't look at that. I had a ‘come to Jesus’ conversation with her. When I broke it down, in the end, she said, that makes total sense. And when she started looking at it differently, I started breaking down the whole Gary Vee model, which I will put a link to. You're referring to that PDF that he put out, which is probably one of his best-known PDFs. That PDF was amazing because honestly, he just laid the cupboards bare and that's the thing I like about Gary Vee. I've met him a few times. He's a solid person. He just puts it out there. He doesn't hold something back with one hand behind his back, like, I'm going to give you this, but this is what I'm going to charge you for. He's giving you all the goods upfront, which is what I love. And I think that even if half the companies out there would take some of that stuff to heart, it would be transformational.

Bryan Fittin [30:49] They need to be going forward. We are living in one of the biggest communication shifts in 500 years. With so many businesses, if they don't jump on this train to change what we are doing when it comes to connecting with people because spending, you know, 1000s, or millions on TV ads, is just not cutting it anymore. And so, trying to make that personal connection with your customer, your client, or potential clients, has to be done differently.

Randy Wilburn [31:17] There's real value in that, and I'm excited to see how this market transforms. In the next few years, I think I shared with you before that 50 percent of all search is voice right now, in 2020. But it's going to be 100 percent by 2025. That's less than five years from now. I think it's huge because you put yourself in an excellent position to share your information with the widest audience possible on multiple platforms. In the marketing world, they call that the omnichannel where you're a little bit of everywhere. People know you and that ‘be everywhere’ mentality actually serves a good purpose.

Bryan Fittin [32:00] It does, and I’m just referencing back to Pat Flynn. He talks about jumping into two channels first, mastering those and then moving on. So, I don't want to sound like if you're not everywhere all the time, you're not doing it right. One thing is finding out where your audience is, but don't neglect where they could be. There are so many CEOs and executives who only deal on LinkedIn in the business world. But guess what, they have Facebook, they have Instagram, Tick Tock, and so if all of a sudden, you're popping up in their feed consistently, that could be potential business or not. I go on the business route. But a listener for somebody your podcast is designed for that audience could be in other places you don't even know.

Randy Wilburn [32:43] I take it a time to learn different platforms. I don't know about you guys. Even when I'm not doing anything in it, I just watch. That's what Gary Vaynerchuk talks about. Just look and see what people are doing. What's working, what isn't working? What has traction, what doesn't. I've been playing around lately. I don't know what you guys think about it, but Instagram now has reels, which is pretty much their version of Tick Tock. I've used it to great effect in a very short period of time, but I'm just playing with it. I'm not trying to reach this person or that. I'm just having fun. I did a silly video with some background music from the Beatles last Friday. I was on a four-mile walk and I can do that walk in a little less than an hour. I posted that ten minutes into my walk and by the time the hour was up, that video had 1900 views. That's insane. That means 1900 eyeballs were on that video in the span of me walking on my four-mile walk in the morning.

Bryan Fittin [33:48] That's huge. I love that. And the simple fact, too, for most people, if a new platform comes out with a feature, and they're trying to use it, use that feature. Whatever you got to do to figure that out, use that feature because they're going to push that like crazy. They want to see what it can do, too, taking advantage of that organic reach. Well, you posted a reel, too, after recording with us, which I really appreciate. I was like, that's from Randy and he shared it as well.

Randy Wilburn [34:16] I think that one almost got up to 800 views. So, people heard you say Go Rogue X, they heard me talk about it, and that's what it's all about. I know a lot of people in the traditional marketing space; if it's not in a newspaper if I can't see it in a magazine, it's not the same to me. It's just a whole different mindset nowadays. I look at how my kids consume information. They don't watch regular TV at all.

Bryan Fittin [34:49] Or even if it's on, they're not paying attention to commercials or anything on?

Randy Wilburn [34:53] YouTube, they've got their favorite people. Of course, for those of you that don't know, Mr. Beast is the thing. My kids love Mr. Beast. He's actually a good dude, and he's got an amazing story. He has Crohn's disease and some physical ailments that have challenged him. He's got like 40 million YouTube followers, which is huge. It's insane. And because he's able to make so much money, he gives so much away. He's up there with PewDiePie in terms of the amount of money he generates on YouTube between him and Evan Tube. He watches a young kid that unboxes a lot. And then that kid does a bunch of stuff with his dad, where will it break and all these cutting things open? My kids follow this young soccer kid in the UK, and it's called Tekkerz Kid and he just follows him because my son plays a lot of soccer and this kid plays soccer, so they have got these affinities. The world has gotten a lot smaller because of social media because we can get between people's ears with the podcast with these videos. We can get much more granular in our ability to affect our fellow man and woman. It’s exciting, and I believe the future is bright as far as that's concerned.

Bryan Fittin [36:15] We have been given so many opportunities to connect and really whatever your vision is, for what you're doing, like helping people, if that's what you want to do, you have the tools right in front of you to do that. It's just trying to overcome that perfection. I think we struggle with that as well, where it's like, the grid has to look good. You have to make sure you follow all these guidelines. But at the end of the day, if you're not effectively making somebody's life better through that, then it's not worth it.

Randy Wilburn [36:46] So, Lauren, jumping into this area, has this informed your writing in terms of how you write, or are you even writing as much as you used to?

Lauren Lewis [36:55] I have gotten more out of the writing space and more into looking over our operation side, but you cannot undersell good copy. There's a big difference between the two, and I think that's something that we have come upon time and time again. You can even have a great video and great podcasts, but you still have to be able to write it. So, we recently hired an amazing copywriter and I feel like we can't sing his praises enough. I feel like he could pretty much ask for anything and we would do it; it’s like we can't lose you. I used to be an English teacher, so it's one of those things that it's like, attention, kids. No matter what you want to do. If you want to be a YouTube star, you must have a good copy because you will need it.

Randy Wilburn [37:46] Well, the number one thing that even moves YouTube videos are thumbnails. So, there's the visual part of it, but then there's also the written part, and the two come together, so I'm glad you brought that up. Many people think you could throw a video up and just hope for the best, and sometimes that happens. Sometimes you might get lightning in a bottle, but the reality is you need to move people, which is why compelling subject lines and emails get opened, versus the stuff that you don’t open.

Bryan Fittin [38:21] You have to think about your consumption, too. We try to talk about this a lot. How are you buying things online? How are you interacting with brands? What don't you like? I hate to get spam emails, but then people spam me. It's like, I just got to get this out to as many people as possible. It’s like you're trying to connect with somebody, but yet you're doing practices that are not good as well. I’m thinking about YouTube clicking on exciting titles. I'm going to YouTube to be entertained or to solve a problem, and many people just don't even put that in their brain of what I should focus on.

Randy Wilburn [38:58] They missed it. Well, before we wrap up, I would love for you to share with this audience. And again, just sometimes we have people listening that are thinking about moving here. I recently had an email from a guy who just took a job with Tyson, and he used my podcast to encourage him because he wasn’t sure about the area. He was on the fence. And then, after listening to the podcast, he was like, that's exactly where I want to be, and I was like, yes, that's what I was hoping for. I didn't have this to fall back on when I moved here in 2014. I didn't have a podcast to listen to. I just looked at Wikipedia and a bunch of stuff on Google but I couldn't hear stories about this area as to what makes it so special. So, as we close, I would love for you to share the why behind in your minds why Northwest Arkansas is a great place. We have talked about it. We've talked about the great restaurants, but both of you guys just share what else makes Northwest Arkansas really special?

Lauren Lewis [39:54] I think it's the people here that are amazing. It's growing at such a rapid rate but yet there's still this close-knit community. We rally among each other in a pretty dynamic way. Recently, we had an officer that was killed, and we saw the Fayetteville community come together. My brother-in-law is a Fayetteville police officer, so there's also that connection. But you also noticed that this doesn't happen all the time, and it was such a unique way, but it was across the entire Northwest Arkansas, and you could feel that. I think there's something to be said of local businesses on how we rally, which is really treasured. There's a lot of local businesses growing up in Little Rock that just never made it because the big chains would just push them all out. It’s the big chains that are getting pushed out around here because we would rather spend our money at the local businesses, which is amazing. So, you get such a diversity of flavors and different things, which is great. And I love that some of these big businesses like Walmart and Tyson are supporting people from across the globe. I love that my kids are growing up, maybe not as big as in a big city, but there's still going to see different thoughts and different religions and other races and cultures. And I want them to know that I want them to experience that.

Randy Wilburn [41:25] And that's huge. I'm glad you brought that up, and, unfortunately, it's not something that you can experience throughout the state, but Northwest Arkansas is a unique aspect of that. And even with the fact that yes, technically, we do have a Walmart in every corner, even the small businesses have a space to expand and grow. And what people don't realize is that Walmart is a big supporter of local small businesses, so it has a trickle-down effect. So, I appreciate you sharing that. What about you, Bryan?

Bryan Fittin [41:53] Well, I was going to hit on the culture as well; there’s something for everybody here. I love the different aspects of Bentonville with a corporate mindset. We have a lot of exciting things up here, but then Fayetteville, you have the College and you have just a rally around a sports team. We don't have any professional sports in Northwest Arkansas or in Arkansas in general. And so, you can jump in wherever you fit; there’s something here for you. And I don't want to say that so broadly, but it is one of those things that there's so much in this area amongst our four big cities. They are not competing against each other because each one has its specialty. I love the fact that Fayetteville is a little crunchy and Bentonville has its different flavor. We live in Rogers, so I love downtown, Rogers. And since Onyx has moved its HQ to the 1907 and just expanding down there. But even the trails are different like the RailYard downtown Rogers is entirely different from some other bike park. Each city has its own, but collectively, now that we have six lanes going between everything, it makes it nice. It's fun to get in between. It doesn't take us two hours now from Bella Vista to get to South Fayetteville.

Randy Wilburn [43:20] It's nice and it's so funny because people would tell me. I remember riding up and down Business 71 back in the day. I hear all these stories like people from Central Arkansas pre-Bobby Hopper Tunnel with two lanes all the way. I can only imagine what that was like. We have grown, and we're continuing to grow. That's perfect. I appreciate you guys sharing that. Finally, how can people get in touch with you guys at Go Rogue X, and what's the best way for them to reach out?

Unknown Speaker [43:50] We can be contacted by email at goroguex.com, our social channels are all that as well, goroguex. And then our podcast is Rogue Creators, which we had you on with people doing cool things, different things, specifically in the digital space. And so, contact us. We would love to connect and especially if people locally or people looking at moving here possibly. We would love to give some feedback for them as well and why they should move here.

Randy Wilburn [44:17] Well, Lauren, and Bryan, I really appreciate you guys taking the time to share. I will make sure all that information is in the Show Notes, and we will make sure that everybody has all of your ways to connect with you guys and I really appreciate you coming on the podcast. Well, thank you so much.

Guests [44:32] Thank you.

Randy Wilburn [44:33] I appreciate it. Well, folks, there you have it, another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. It was so great to have Bryan and Lauren on, and I hope you guys learned something. I was encouraged by some of the stories that these guys shared, and I also think that there were some great takeaways in this particular episode, so I hope you like it. You can shoot me an email whenever at randy@iamnorthwestarkansas. I would love to hear from you. But in the meantime, as you know, this podcast comes out every Monday. We have a new episode talking about something great here in Northwest Arkansas, so we appreciate you guys listening. You can find us wherever great podcasts can be found, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Spotify, you name it, we are there. We're on I Heart Radio and as I always like to say, if you have an Amazon Alexa, just say, hey, Alexa, play the latest episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, and Alexa will take care of you and let you hear that episode. So that's all I have for you this week. I appreciate it. You can check out our sponsors on our Show Notes and find out who we have been sponsored by. We appreciate the exclusive Realty Group and all the great people that have sponsored this podcast that makes it possible. If you're interested in sponsoring the podcast, please let us know you can reach out to me at randy@iamnorthwestarkansas. That's all I have for you this week. We will see you next week. Peace.

TZL Open [45:54] We hope you enjoyed this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. Check us out each and every week available anywhere that great podcast can be found. For Show Notes or more information on becoming a guest, visit iamnorthwestarkansas.com. We will see you next week on I am Northwest Arkansas.


About the Show: 

We enjoy talking to people. That’s what we do here at I am Northwest Arkansas. Storytelling by podcast and video looks easy and it can appear as if anyone can do it but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes to create that perfect video or podcast.  

New Media has been around for more than a decade but people are still trying to get their proverbial arms around it to make sense of it and figure out how it plays into their daily digital routine. People now get their news from a podcast instead of turning on a radio. Many watch YouTube more than they do regular TV. And of course we know how Twitter, Facebook, and Craigslist, have put a major dent in the Newspaper business. 

Media content is available everywhere we turn and the quality keeps getting better.  

Seriously though, we enjoy talking shop with people that walk and talk like we do here at I am Northwest Arkansas so when we had the chance to sit down with Bryan Fittin and Loren Lewis from Go Rogue X up in Bentonville we jumped at the opportunity.  

Listen to their story and how Go Rogue X is becoming a household name here in Northwest Arkansas. All of this and more on this podcast episode. 

Important Links and Mentions on the Show*:

This episode is sponsored by*:

The Exclusive Real Estate Group – Serving all of Northwest Arkansas from Dickson St. to Bentonville Square, Broker Chris Dinwiddie, and his agents are ready to provide first-class representation for any of your real estate needs. 

Chris’ team has expanded to include in house designers and architects.  They can facilitate everything from design services to turnkey new construction.  Click Here to contact them, and be sure to mention that you heard about them from IANWA. 

Or, if you need to move quickly, call Chris directly on his cell at 479-305-0468 and mention that you heard about him here on the podcast. 

Build Your Perfect Business with Next Level 7 – If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business or giving your current business a real tune-up, you need to check out Next Level 7 and take some lessons from the master, Brian Clark. Brian has built not one but two 8-figure businesses from scratch – and sold them! 

We use Brian’s training here at I am Northwest Arkansas, and it has transformed how we do business.  Get the FREE Course today! Or visit iamnorthwestarkansas.com/seven

Be a part of the Entrepreneurial Movement here in the Ozarks. 

Email info@iamnorthwestarkansas.com to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

*Note: some of the resources mentioned may be affiliate links. This means we get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Connect more with I am Northwest Arkansas:

Thank you for listening to this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. We showcase businesses, culture, entrepreneurship, and the lives of everyday people making Northwest Arkansas what it is today. 

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