Using the Value for Value Model to Earn a Living, Travel, and Do Good in the World with Jen Briney
Jen Briney is the host of the Congressional Dish podcast where she breaks down what is happening in Congress that most Americans don’t know about. Jen’s perspective for the show is a fed-up taxpayer with no allegiance to any political party. Jen has designed Congressional Dish so that it will fill you in on the must know information about what our Representatives do after the elections and how their actions can and will affect our day-to-day lives.
Jen shares her varied work journey and how she started paying attention to world events while living in Germany in 2003. Her questions led to more questions, and she shares the final catalyst that prompted her to start her show. She also shares some really interesting podcasting information such as why she chose the value for value model, how she structures such a research intensive show, the true meaning of success for her, and her close relationship to loyal listeners. We always have a great time together, and you will get a lot out of this fun and informative episode.
[02:54] It’s a pleasure working with Jen. She says working with Pro Podcast Solutions has been seamless from the beginning.
[03:39] Jen is the host of Congressional Dish a podcast that takes a look at the often ignored side of politics.
[04:36] In high school, Jen went to a private school and on the commute, her and her mother listened to conservative talk radio.
[05:33] In 2000, Jen voted for George W. Bush.
[05:53] She lived in Germany in 2003, when the Iraq war started. She was embarrassed when asked about the war, because she didn’t have any of the answers.
[06:21] This is when she started paying attention, asking questions and looking for answers.
[06:29] She became obsessed with looking for answers and the podcast was her way to get it out of her system.
[06:55] Jen was watching C-Span, because her husband was a solar engineer and an energy and water bill was being debated. She saw Tom Cole brag about sneaking a provision into the water bill that protected campaign contributions.
[07:38] She looked it up in the Congressional Record to make sure she had it right. To Jen this seemed like a big deal, yet nothing was said about it on the news or the Internet.
[08:17] This inspired Jen to start her podcast to share what is happening in Congress.
[09:27] Congress makes the laws. Jen’s biggest struggle is that she could do a show a day and still never run out of material.
[10:27] Jen isn’t concerned with politics, she is concerned with the governing part.
[11:42] Jen toured with AVP Pro Beach Volleyball. She went all over the country and took care of the catering services, dsl installation in the sand, and did some on air work with the sports networks.
[12:50] She then worked at an apartment complex. She then worked at several different jobs and tried waitressing. She was looking for something that made her feel good.
[16:12] Jen enjoys nature and likes to avoid screens for breaks. She went camping over the 4th of July.
[16:59] When Jen started the podcast, she wanted it to be a job that came with her, made her feel good, and paid some of her bills. She has a fully functional business that pays her bills, but she is going where the job wants her to go.
[17:31] Jen is on a mission to flip the podcast back where it compliments her life and not the other way around.
[19:02] Jen decided to spend one year podcasting and not worrying about money. She was able to focus on the creative part.
[19:57] She then put up a PayPal button to ask for donations. In 2015, Jen did a Reddit AMA. Her AMA made it into the top of Reddit. This blasted several doors open. Her listeners are in the thousands, but she chose not to go the advertising route.
[22:48] Jen didn’t want any outside influence on her content.
[23:47] The hardest part of the journey was staying focused once she was offered so many new opportunities.
[24:01] She wants a job that she loves that comes with her.
[24:42] Value for value was an idea by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak. This is where listeners donate and sustain the show.
[27:38] Bud Johnson was one of her first listeners. He would send her cards with checks in them. She would read his notes online. He was one of the first supporters and has been there over the years. He recently passed away and Jen is crushed.
[29:07] Jen has some listeners who she has been connecting with for years.
[33:19] Jen has a thank you session at the end of the show. These make her show long, but she appreciates the 2% who really support her show.
[35:08] She tries to keep the show compact.
[35:42] Jen has success with Congressional Dish. It’s a job that travels with her and pays her bills and does good in the world.
[37:15] Her new definition of success will be hitting episode 500 of Congressional Dish.
[40:31] Jen documents everything that she puts in the episodes.
[41:07] She releases episodes every two weeks. First, she digs through the Daily Digest, listens to the sound clips, and researches whatever needs to be researched.
[42:55] She then uses Scrivener to put everything together. She also puts the links in Evernote and her VA makes the notes and puts everything in WordPress.
[44:06] She also has a volunteer who takes care of the art and the store. She spends a lot of time on recording the show either free flow or scripted. Then she gives the editors at least 48 hours to work on the show.
[45:12] On Sundays, she makes sure everything is okay and then hits publish. She doesn’t batch but would like a way to do so.
[46:40] Darrell and Jen have some fun with the rapid fire questions.
[46:57] She learned work ethic from her parents.
[47:57] Her favorite song was Wagon Wheel when running. Hold On by Wilson Phillips is her go-to Karaoke song.
[54:19] Darrell’s takeaways: Jen has been on a lifelong journey to find a way to earn a living, travel, and do good in the world. She had a major turning point on a Reddit AMA. Saying yes to everything took her focus off of her show. She uses the value for value model to fund her show. 2% or her listeners support her show, and her relationship with them is truly moving.
Links and Resources:
Pro Podcast Solutions
Congressional Dish on Facebook
Jennifer Briney on Twitter
Jennifer Briney on Instagram
Jennifer Briney on LinkedIn
CD186: National Endowment for Democracy
CD174: Bank Lobbyist Act
CD155: FirstNet Empowers AT&T
Congressional Record Daily Digest