Seeing Business as a Creative Act and Focusing on What You Do Best with Andy Kushner


“I learned a ton about the business of business at IBM, but it wasn’t feeding my heart. Eventually, I was able to go full-time in the music business.” -Andy Kushner Click To Tweet

Today’s Episode:

What happens when the most prolific thought leaders and icons in the wedding and event industry get together for a conversation with the super creative Andy Kushner? You get The Wedding Biz Podcast. It’s Andy’s goal to elevate the wedding and event industry by interviewing top professionals in the industry. 

His podcast has been a runaway success with his authentic interview style and iconic guests. He even puts his own spin on things by creating The Next Level where he pulls a couple of main topics from a previous show and invites a former guest to be a co-host and discuss that topic. This unique co-host strategy has enabled Andy to form deeper connections with his co-hosts and grow his audience. 

Andy graduated from Boston University with a degree in Business Management. He spent several years at IBM in the corporate world. Eventually, he felt his career was paying the bills, but not feeding his heart. He went back to his original love of music and formed Kushner Entertainment where he designs custom event experiences through bands and music. 

Andy has always had a love for the spoken word, and once he discovered podcasting, he knew it was something he wanted to do. Now he is the host of The Wedding Biz, The Next Level, Extraordinary Ordinary People, and he is starting his own podcast network. In my conversation with Andy, we talk about his journey, his love of music and creativity, and how he found his passion with podcasting. Andy has been able to take an event niche like weddings and turn it into amazing stories, life lessons, and a show about business. 

“Podcasting is really feeding my heart.” -Andy Kushner Click To Tweet

Show Notes:

  • [03:19] Andy spent many years at IBM and also has a background in the music business. 
  • [03:45] He majored in music, but at the time computers were starting to get big. 
  • [04:30] Andy worked at IBM, but he missed music. He started a cover dance band to play weddings, and it got big very quickly. 
  • [04:59] Now Andy runs Kushner Entertainment. He has several bands and produces stuff around the world for corporate events, weddings, and all kinds of things that involve music and entertainment. 
  • [05:18] Andy has always been interested in the spoken word and listening to great speakers. He then discovered podcasts and started listening to people like Tim Ferriss, Brian koppelman, Marc Maron, and Howard Stern.
  • [06:18] Andy had a gut feeling that his knowledge of business, music, and events would translate into a great podcast. 
  • [06:52] He decided to niche the event industry down to mostly weddings. There were no shows in that segment who interviewed the icons of the business. 
  • [07:27] There was no one interviewing the icons of the business, and Andy somehow knew that he would be able to get to those people.
  • [07:44] He started interviewing the big hitters, and it started working. He’s been doing The Wedding Biz podcast for two years now.
  • [08:25] Andy custom designs the music for events. He has done some glamorous stuff and also a lot of weddings in the DC area.
  • [08:46] He provides a party and a great experience for his customers.
  • [09:09] Andy looks at the podcast business like a business. The best podcasters know how to entertain and engage an audience.
  • [10:40] There is a level of improvisation with playing live music that also applies to podcasting.
  • [12:22] Andy does in depth interviews. He wants to find out who these people are. He still listens and reads the guest. 
  • [14:29] Andy releases his main interviews on Mondays. He also has a second shorter show where he summarizes some of the highlights from the Monday show. 
  • [16:03] His download numbers show that this strategy is working. He also has his prior guests become co-hosts on The Next Level or second show. 
  • [18:44] A podcast is a marketing tool to promote goods and services. Having guests as co-hosts really increases his relationship with them. 
  • [20:50] Podcasting success for Andy is increasing relationships, possible monetization, and he loves doing it.
  •  [21:43] Andy took out a loan to produce his podcast at a certain level, and he does in-person interviews. He did have to cutback on how he worked with various team members. He now spends less, and the show is better than ever.
  • [23:24] Andy felt he could make more money paying someone else to edit. 
  • [24:49] He has a partner for his music business. Andy gets to focus on creative. 
  • [26:05] Andy is interviewing the best people in the world, and he’s learning so much about the event industry.
  • [26:32] Pat Flynn suggested that Andy read Rocket Fuel.
  • [28:09] Using PPS for audio editing and production is the system that helps Andy with all of his podcasting obligations. Our system helps keeps him organized, so he can host multiple shows.
  • [31:14] A couple things that Andy learned while podcasting is love the business side as much as the creative from Bryan Rafanelli and putting together a business structure is a creative act from David Starr. 
  • [32:17] There’s creativity to how you do your business. It’s just perspective that’s all.
  • [33:04] Andy’s mother was an entrepreneur and worked in the childbirth field. She taught him that anything was possible. His father was an anthropologist. Andy grew up feeling like anything was possible, he could have his own thing, and stand up for himself.
  • [34:52] Andy’s big future goal is to build his podcast network where he produces shows for other people in the industry and charges them for that.
  • [35:28] He also has a large amount of valuable content, and his future goals focus around monetization.
  • [36:28] Andy is blown away by Santana’s new album Africa Speaks. 
  • [38:19] Darrell’s takeaways: his two episodes per week strategy is very unique. He builds a deeper relationship by having a guest be a co-host. He over-invested early on. Over time, he realized he can achieve the same or better results by scaling back. The money didn’t roll in as fast as he thought it would. He’s worked hard on finding a business partner and a team that allows him to focus on what he does best. Business is a creative act.
“I love listening to people like Martin Luther King or great comedians who really give a deep message using comedy as a tool like George Carlin and Richard Pryor.” -Andy Kushner Click To Tweet

Links and Resources: