How a Podcast Fosters Community in Colorado Springs [with Lauren Collier]

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Lauren Collier, local real estate agent and host of Central Colorado Springs Advice Givers podcast, sat down with us recently to share how she’s using digital media to deepen community connections and make a social impact in Colorado Springs.

How did the Central Colorado Springs Advice Givers Podcast start?

Lauren: ​I’m a real estate agent. I have been in business doing that for about 6 years. As a business person, there are a number of different things you might do and/or might be expected to do, as far as participating in the community, in particular--business networking.

I really built my business on business networking, by going to networking events, and I had a great time doing it. I learned a lot of skills. I met a lot of people who have been great referral partners, as far as folks that can help my clients out. I just built a lot of great trusting relationships in the community of Colorado Springs.

But, it’s a double-edged sword. Because, then you run out of time.

Once you get busy in your business, where is your time for networking anymore?

You do need to start looking at other ways of connecting.

I wanted to re-create that business networking without having to spend 3 hours getting ready, putting other things aside, driving to the event, attending the event, driving back and then getting my head back in the game with my work.

That is a big time commitment.

I do still go to a lot of networking events, because I still think they're really important to stay physically involved, but every one of us that runs a business runs out of time when you're doing well.

So, the podcast creates for the business owner a lasting asset, where they can tell there story the same as they might do in a one-on-one coffee with someone. Then people can get to know them. They tell the origin of their business. Somewhat like we’re doing here today.

[We cover topics like:]

● Why did they start their business?

● Where did their passion come from?

● What were their trials and tribulations gettings started?

● What did they do to find success?

These are all the types of things that we should all be talking to one another about as business owners in this community in order to help, and, more than anything, inspire one another.

Because, it can get a little lonely, and, sometimes, it’s tough when you’re not sure what step to take next and you’re in a rut. So, listening to someone else’s story can really help the listener to

grow or maybe solve a problem in their own business.

It’s definitely a two-way street.

The listener probably has a lot to gain from every episode. We touch on different topics based on what that business is and what that business owner’s been through.

It should deliver benefit to the guest, as well, in being able to share about their product. As I said, it’s a lasting asset. So, now, we’ve told their story. It’s recorded, and, in most cases, they’ve never taken the time to do that before.

Now, they can put it on their social media. They can put it on their blogs. They can put it on their website. They can put it in their email signature line--a link to their podcast episode.

Then, when they’re trying to make new clients or new business-to-business referral relationships, or continue to build a relationship with someone they just met, they can send people to the podcast [episode], and it can be a big time saver for busy people.

What’s been the most interesting interview that you’ve done?

Lauren: ​All of them are interesting in their own way, so I’m going to answer it from a personal standpoint, because to each person who listens, a different show would strike a different chord.

For me, I picked out three:

Steve Kaczmarek with Borealis Fat Bikes was awesome. I really enjoyed hearing him talk about hiring employees. That is always one of the biggest challenges in growing businesses. They are a very solid, great company right here in Colorado Springs. So, that was super fun to hear.

Lisa Tessarowicz with Epicentral Coworking, talking about the founding [of her company]. It was really fun, inspiring and interesting to hear her talk about the way she makes decisions for her business. She likes to do things that are creative, fun and interesting, not just the same old thing. So, that was fun, too, to hear someone successful talk about that.

Amanda Gaden with Pinned Reality spoke about being a mom and a business owner. What I really loved about her episode was how she talked about following your passion. It’s not about the money. It’s about picking something that you enjoy and something that really speaks to you. I feel like she is really passionate about what she does. It brings her a lot of joy to do her work, so that was fun.

Links to each podcast episode at the bottom of the blog post.

What has been your biggest personal benefit from the podcast or what have you enjoyed the most?

Lauren: ​Getting to meet all these people and take an hour of their time has been amazing!

People who recognize the value of creating a lasting asset like the podcast tend to the busy people, who tend to the be successful people that have tremendously, amazing stories to tell. They can be total geeks about whatever they do.

For example, any of the ones that I named or anyone that’s been on the podcast--We give them that time on the podcast to “geek out” about what they do. And they really get into it.

It’s just so interesting, because I learn something every time and getting to know the individual personalities and it always comes back to: These are people who love Colorado Springs.

They love being here.

They’re here for a reason.

They’re dedicated to our community.

There are a lot of fellow members of our community out there, but everyone’s just working in their own little niche.

It is hard to intersect with one another sometimes, because you’ve got to spend time with your family and your job, and then getting out into the community can be a continuing challenge.

So, [I just enjoy] spending time with them.

What do you see as the future of the podcast?

Lauren: It’s definitely supposed to be focused on Colorado Springs, so, geographically, I don’t foresee any expansion.

There is one really exciting thing that has happened recently.

We have joined up with Studio 809 Radio.

So, I am now on their radio platform.

That’s great, because that’s another connection with the community, and maybe someone who was listening to another show will listen to my podcast. Or, maybe, someone who was listening to my podcast can now hear other local shows.

So, that’s really fun.

In a perfect world, I’d like to do it more frequently. I’m not sure at what point that might happen. It’s not a plan that I’ve sketched out.

Right now, the number one thing that I’m looking to do is get a few advertising sponsors on the show.

Because, once I have funding for the program, then it makes it much more to hire out the related services and produce more shows. So, it is what it is, until we get more sponsors, but that could really change the game, if we get a couple people to sponsor the show.

What other social media platforms are you active on?

Lauren: ​The podcast has a Facebook page and a website. I keep that simple, again, due to time management and resources. I also put it on YouTube. I’ll take 3 or 5 minutes out of an interview and put it on YouTube, so that it can be used for promo, too.

For my real estate business, we’re all over the place: Facebook is the primary, but I also do Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, YouTube...and LinkedIn, which includes both [my real estate business and the podcast.]

How do you think digital media has changed the way that buyers engage with new brands and local businesses?

Lauren: ​It has changed things completely.

Now, going in person to the store or picking up the phone to call the real estate agent is the last step, whereas it used to be the starting point.

I think we all get interviewed online.

Buyers shop around online or reads reviews and product specs. They will ask the questions in their mind, search for the answers on your site, and if they find what they’re looking for and they like what they see so far, then they’ll show up in person or place a phone call.

I think that the competitive shopping is not happening by people driving from store-to-store or calling to interview potential service providers by phone, almost at all. Other than with older generations. It’s pretty much all done online.

What is the importance of social impact to you personally, as you grow professionally?

Lauren: ​I think it is our pleasure and our honor to be able to give back.

Our business makes an annual pledge to the Trails & Open Space Coalition, so a portion of every home sale will benefit the trails and open spaces of Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas, which is, of course, what makes our location so incredibly attractive.

It’s a real passion of mine to protect those spaces, and I make heavy use of them, so I think it’s important to give back. I enjoy having them there for the sake of everyone.

We have a program through the real estate business where any time a teacher uses our services, we make a donation to their school.

I’ve been active in the past with Colorado Springs Rising Professionals. I think that’s a really important program to help out younger people in Colorado Springs get their footing in the business community.

I spent a long time participating with the U.S. Green Building Council, as well. Being involved in building, housing, sustainability and environmental responsibility are really important to me. That group is a perfect intersection of those things.

What other local sites do you recommend for things going on in Colorado Springs and ways to get connected in the community?

Lauren:

Colorado Springs Rising Professionals - great resource for young professionals in the area

Studio 809 Radio - great to be partnering with them

1 Million Cups Colorado Springs - have to give them a shout out

Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development - of course

Find Lauren online:

Central Colorado Springs Advice Givers Podcast on Studio 809 Radio

Central Colorado Springs Advice Givers Podcast on Facebook

Live Dream Colorado with Epic Real Estate Group

Lauren on Facebook

Lauren on Twitter

Lauren on LinkedIn

Lauren presenting at 1 Million Cups earlier this month

Links to the podcast episodes mentioned in the interview:

How to Build Fat Bikes with Steve Kaczmarek [Borealis Fat Bikes]

How to Invest Locally with Lisa Tessarowicz [Epicentral Coworking]

How to Stay at Home with the Kids and Run a Profitable Business with Amanda Gaden [Pinned Reality]