The Happy Engineer Podcast

069: Unlock the Power of Your Personal Brand & Design Your Digital Reputation with Erik Cabral

Is having a personal brand and building influence through your digital reputation important as an engineering leader?

What is personal branding anyway, and why does it matter?

In this episode, meet the most interesting man at the barbeque, Erik Cabral. He is an expert in branding and will answer these questions and more in our conversation.

We talk about why every engineering leader needs to intentionally design your digital reputation.

After building a successful career in corporate America over 20+ years, Erik jumped head first into real estate investing in order to achieve financial freedom. That was just the beginning.

Erik is Founder of the media agency, On Air Brands. He’s Founder of the real estate investment company, Mindado Investment Group. He is host, co-host, and producer on multiple top shows: Entrepreneurs Circle, Capital Hacking, Cashflow Ninja, and more. He is the quintessential “serial entrepreneur” who spends much of his time helping others grow their businesses, brands, and reputation.

Erik loves to share his decades of experience in personal branding and creative marketing strategies, especially for individuals slow to adopt the critical importance of a digital reputation.

So press play and let’s chat… your influence, and therefore your career success, depends on it.


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Previous Episode 068: Why Working Harder Does Not Work with the World’s Best Unconscious Beliefs Specialist – Tim Shurr




“This is your Marvel universe.” I love Erik’s analogy between your career and your personal brand with the making of the marvel cinematic universe. 

First, it was Ironman, but then Captain America, and Hulk, and The Avengers, and all these other movies that came out. They were setting up for something bigger. 

How are you looking at the bigger picture of your career?

Personal branding

If you’re like me, the first time you hear about personal branding, especially if you’re still in a W2 career, you might think that it doesn’t apply to you.

Well, I hope that Eric and I convinced you that that is not true. 

Here’s the bottom line. If you’re not willing to put yourself out there, being true, being honest, being vulnerable, then you are limiting your career success, period.

If you are holding back from having courageous conversations, if you’re holding back from being genuine and authentic, that means people are not able to fully relate to you. 

And if people are not connected to you, human to human, then you do not have the level of influence.

Your personal brand is being built, whether you’re doing it unintentionally by default or intentionally by design, you want to be the designer of your own reputation, the designer of your own personal brand. This is your Marvel universe

Remember, the foundation of all of this is who you actually are. We’re not creating a facade. This is just a reflection of who you actually are. 

So it does begin in the workplace moment to moment, putting yourself out there in a true, honest, and vulnerable way. 

And if you don’t understand how to do that in your own career, then that’s another conversation and reach out to us for help on that because that is a key first step. 

But, for now, the simplest way you can take action now is LinkedIn.

Get on LinkedIn

For better or for worse, LinkedIn is the online professional networking place to be.

That is step one.

Here are a couple of quick tips about what a great LinkedIn profile would look like. 

Number one, your photo on your profile is the singular most important thing that you can level up. 

Great lighting, high resolution, not some cheap old photo that you screenshotted off of Facebook from 10 years ago. 

You with a happy, smiling high energy face, an expression that brings your energy to the surface. Something where people can see some energy in your face.

Also, position your photo in a way that your face occupies the majority of the frame.

Why is your profile picture so important? 

Because there are so many unconscious ideas and reflections and impressions. We could even use negative terms like bias or prejudice, and I get that. 

But look, if the photo is dark, blurry, if you’re, you know, have a straight face or you’re frowning, subconsciously, I’m going to project a lot of things about what that means, even if I don’t intend to.

So let’s remove all of that risk from how people see us online by putting a great picture up. 

Number two, the background cover photo on your profile. 

So many engineering leaders make a mistake with this by either one, leaving that blank. Which is a completely missed opportunity, and again, it sends a signal to somebody looking at your profile that you’re incomplete, or worse, that you don’t really care.

The other mistake is using a random picture.

I’ve seen a lot of people use a photo of vacation they took a few years ago, and it really makes no sense.

Connect your cover photo with what you do.

And think, how are you connecting that to what makes you a powerful, unique, and differentiated leader in the workplace? If you can answer that question, then great.

It doesn’t have to just be a picture. It could include words that describe your unique capabilities or your differentiating X factor. 

Number 3. Lots of people assume that just because your company gave you a certain title that that’s exactly the text that needs to go on your LinkedIn title.

I’ll just encourage you to expand your horizons here. 

Yes. It may be important for you to maintain alignment with your company’s titles and not claim something that is not aligned to your company. That’s true, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just that text.

There’s a lot of great advice on this, but you can include more in that title section than just senior engineer or engineering. 

And the reason that’s an important place for you to spend some time is that that is what shows up on LinkedIn underneath your name. 

Every single time you post, interact, engage, or anything, people are going to see that. So it’s probably the most critical piece of real estate when it comes to words on the entire. 

Last thing. Finish filling out the profile. 

Don’t leave it incomplete. Again, you don’t want people coming to conclusions based on this.

If you don’t have your experiences listed or anything written in the about section, or you have a couple of paragraphs that are very, bland, vanilla. It’s the same thing that every single profile says.

If that’s your LinkedIn profile, take some time and finish the profile.

Establishing your online reputation

If you have not checked the domain names around your own name, now’s the time. Most of them are already taken. 

My name was taken before I could get to it, but go check your, see if it’s available, and if it is, buy it even if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it yet. 

An online reputation is only going to become more and more important in the future, and you’re going to want to have that digital real estate purchased for your own use in the future.

If your exact name is taken already, then think about other versions, variance, nicknames, or putting a word like, your name, or, your name. something special about you. Play with it, see what you can get. 

Final point, I’d encourage you to grab a trusted friend and do an online reputation audit. 

Do a swap with each other, auditing what you can find in your online reputation.

So ask a friend to take 15 minutes or less, keep it short and sweet, and spend that time looking at what they can find about you online. 

They’re Googling you, they’re checking you out on social media, and they’re building a first impression, if you will, about what they find about you online.

Doing this with someone outside yourself is important because you don’t always realize what other people can find. 

You want to make sure that recruiters, bosses, etc. are looking at your online reputation, they get an accurate picture of what you represent..

If you have questions, jump into the Happy Engineer community and let’s talk about it. We’d be happy to support you or even take a look and give you some feedback on an audit of your digital reputation. All right.

Now get out there and crush some comfort, create courage and let’s do this.



Erik Cabral left corporate America after 20+ years. He jumped head first into real estate investing in order to achieve financial freedom. Educating himself, building networks, and analyzing hundreds of deals he purchased his first multi-family building in less than one year. He’s a partner in the Renault Winery & Resort, which is the 2nd oldest winery in the US, offers private capital to his network of investors for various projects and looks for opportunities to expand and grow his network.

Erik is the founder of the media agency, On Air Brands; the innovative networking and podcasting event PodMAX; the real estate investment company Mindado Investment Group; host, co-host, and producer on multiple shows: Entrepreneurs Circle, Capital Hacking, Cashflow Ninja, and VaynerMedia’s Chief Heart Officer Claude Silvers’ show, “Emotional Optimism: Living in the Silver Lining”. With multiple businesses, partnerships, and podcasts Erik is the quintessential “serial entrepreneur” who spends much of his time helping others grow their businesses, brands, and reputation.

Erik loves to share his decades of experience in creative, branding, and marketing strategies as well as helping others leverage the power within the podcasting platform.

Erik holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC and lives in Central NJ, with his wife and two daughters.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Eric, welcome to The Happy Engineer Podcast. It’s awesome to have you, man. Thanks for being here. 

[00:00:05] Erik Cabral: Yeah, thanks Zach for having me. I’m so happy and honored to be here, so thank you.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:09] Zach White: So for those on audio only today, they’re missing out on an incredible background. Be Eric, before the interview, we were talking about this Macintosh on your wall, and it’s taking me back to my childhood bedroom where I had a Mac.

[00:00:24] So I just thank you for bringing me back to a really 

[00:00:26] Erik Cabral: nostalgic moment. , it’s funny, um, I often, you know, people ask if it’s a real background and I’ll walk back there and I’ll pull the floppy discount. that’s talk about nostalgia. People see that. So, uh, 

[00:00:38] Zach White: floppy. Yeah. You know, the engineering leader listening appreciates the three and a half inch floppy.

[00:00:43] So good, good times. So, Eric, in, you know, the bio we read about you, your resume, your experience, it’s all over the place. real estate, podcasting, entrepreneurship, investing, personal branding, financial freedom, there’s so many threads we could pull. And when I look at your life, I can’t help but see what we call lifestyle.

[00:01:04] At o Waco at its finest, absolutely crafting something that’s serving your highest vision and values in the world, and it begs the question then, with everything you have going on, I hate to start with such a trite, worn out question, but how do you answer the question? What do you do? 

[00:01:22] Erik Cabral: Yeah, it used to be a challenge at barbecues, especially when I left corporate America, cuz you know, I was there for over 20 years and, I left, you know, as a creative, worked my way up for, as a junior art director all the way up to the top of the food chain, which is a creative director in my field.

[00:01:40] That’s what I was known for, right? Two decades. And when I left and I decided to become a real estate investor, that was confusing for everyone and less for me. but there was some confusion along the way. but that conversation was odd because my, my, my challenge and goal was, to create financial freedom for myself though, what does that mean?

[00:01:59] Erik Cabral: Is, and I’m sure your audience is brilliant, so they, they get it. But just for those who, know what exactly what that means is basically all your bills are paid by your passive income. And I, grew up financially illiterate like my parents. you know, filed for bankruptcy while I was growing up.

[00:02:15] they lived a lifestyle beyond their means and racked up credit card debt. And I get it, they were immigrants from the Philippines. They were learning as they go as well. Uh, they got caught up in the materialistic game and, and, and the American dream. So I learned from their hard lessons and I realized, wait a minute, if I can create passive income that will pay for my bills.

[00:02:40] Erik Cabral: I can live financially free at some point. So that was the thing at barbecues. Zach, Yeah. Was like, I am a Fri real estate investor, . And, you know, that was my first proud moment of like, I’m taking control of my life, you know, and, and, and I’m looking towards the future. It also helped that I was like, in my mid forties, I was like my early forties.

[00:03:02] So at that time, it was a lot of discovery and different season of my life I was discovering. 

[00:03:07] Zach White: real quick, the moments from your childhood growing up without the financial literacy and this idea of financial freedom, passive income probably never entered the conversation.

[00:03:18] Can you tell me a little bit, how did bankruptcy and that childhood experience inform your money mindset growing up? And what was the moment that shifted? Cuz something must have changed where you actually realized, , there’s a different approach. But what was that like as a kid? 

[00:03:38] Erik Cabral: It was difficult. obviously, you know, if you grow up in a household where money’s an constant issue, there’s a lot of arguing.

[00:03:45] I knew that wasn’t a good thing, but I wasn’t exactly sure. How to solve that problem. So I, I started to repeat those problems, to be honest, especially when I got into corporate and, and started achieving success monetarily through my salary, working, you know, trading time for dollars.

[00:04:02] I did exactly. I started repeating what they were doing. I was buying cars. I was, you know, a lavish, you know, apartment. I was renting in New York City. I was renting in Princeton, New Jersey. And honestly, Zach, it wasn’t until a time and I was partying. Trust me, I was living the life. Sure. I was in my twenties, the dream, to be in Manhattan.

[00:04:21] Erik Cabral: To work in Manhattan. To live in Manhattan and to party in Manhattan. and then bring, that party to Princeton, New Jersey where I was working. That was it. It felt like a movie. And I thought that I was cool and I thought that I was doing whatever filled my cup at the time, which was a lot of materialistic sort of things.

[00:04:39] And I was looking, I was filling a void. Right. Basically. Sure, sure. That I didn’t know could never really be filled. So, um, really, honestly, I’ll give credit to an old ex-girlfriend of mine when I was in my early twenties. Uh, she said, Why are you renting two places? That was cool to most of the girls I was.

[00:04:56] Like, Oh, I can go stay with you in Princeton or in New York. That’s awesome. But she was a girl, humble girl from Michigan and she was like, Staying at the two places. And eventually we started getting serious and she was like, You need to close one of these down . I was like, Wait, what are you talking about?

[00:05:10] And she was like, Yeah, get rid of the Manhattan apartment. You don’t need that anymore. And she’s like, Why don’t we just move in together, and Prince this. So, I mean, you know, I, I drank the Kool-Aid and, and she was way better at finances than I was in eventually We dated for years and she, kind of got my, my, my stuff together, my crap together because she started taking over the finances and we lived together and.

[00:05:31] I saw how she operated, so I started to learn from her, in my twenties. And so I never really told that story before. So that’s 

[00:05:38] Zach White: wild feeling that layers. Yeah. I, I really appreciate you sharing that, Eric. And, engineering leaders, my, my clients at Oaco and the people I work with, generally speaking, pay really close attention to their finances.

[00:05:50] And a lot of them are in pursuit of the same thing that you just described. Like, how do I turn. Career success and income that I create as a leader in engineering. You what, whatever level into opportunities for passive income you know, whether it’s rich, dead, poor, dead, or however they got introduced to that concept.

[00:06:10] I get this dialogue a lot with our clients. You know, how do we turn this into that the engineering leader listening’s, like, Oh, we’re gonna talk about real estate today. I actually don’t wanna talk about that. Uh, we’ll cover that maybe in another episode. But what’s, what’s something you said that’s interesting is you had the success in your career before you went off and started all the incredible serial entrepreneurship things you’re doing now.

[00:06:33] And that’s actually what I wanna dig into because you mentioned personal branding and. I get asked a lot of questions about how do I differentiate myself to create tremendous success in my career when there’s a million other people on the planet who have the same resume as me and personal brandings become a bit of a hot topic or a buzzword, maybe even people ignore it now cuz we’re talking about it so much and nobody really gets it.

[00:07:05] And this is a z a genius for you. So can you talk. Personal branding a bit in your own experience, and then we’ll connect the dots, you know, how does an engineer think about this? Yeah. 

[00:07:17] Erik Cabral: So there’s a lot to unpack there. So I’ll, try to come back, to the main topic here, and you can, you can keep me honest and, and stay within the rails.

[00:07:25] but I. I realized at some point when I got into real estate investing, that there were some people that I looked up to that I wanted to learn from, and there was something that differentiated them from everyone else. And that was, they were putting themselves out there, right? This is 20 17, 20 18, and they were on YouTube, or they had a podcast that I was learning from, and I started sidling up to these folks.

[00:07:48] They became friends, they became partners, they became clients, Basically started mimicking what, what people were doing that I had close access to. So it made it real to me. It’s like, if they can do it, I can do it. Right. So one of the questions you asked is like, how do you differentiate yourself?

[00:08:06] Well, they were differentiating themselves because they were putting themselves out there. Right. That’s, that’s one thing. Not everyone puts themselves out. It may look like there’s a lot of people doing it, but trust me, there’s a very, very, very small percentage of people out who are putting themselves out there on a consistent basis.

[00:08:21] And when I started to recognize that this was the differentiator, me just putting my, my thoughts and my lessons learned and my experience and documenting the journey, which we, if you know and love Gary V as I do, he was the first one that sort. Incepted, you know, like, uh, he, Leo DiCaprio me and put that idea like, Dude, you need to document your journey.

[00:08:46] So my very first podcast, four or five years ago, I was in my basement dude on my cell phone recording into an app and saying, Hey, I don’t know where this is gonna go, but I’m recording and this is the lessons learned. And I’m sure if I go back and listen, if anyone goes back and listen, you know, I didn’t know crap back then.

[00:09:03] Like, I thought I knew what I was talking about, but I was being vulner. That’s the key. If you can put yourself out there and you wanna differentiate yourself, be true, be honest, be vulnerable, because that’s how people relate to you. That’s how people understand you’re human and you’re not one of these guys that’s puffing his chest and banging and ruffling, you know his feathers because your.

[00:09:26] Sharing your failures and you’re putting out lessons so that they don’t have to make the mistakes that you’re making. So that’s what I did. I, I wrapped my head around that and I implemented on it. I implemented it, and, you know, years later I was like, Wow, this is, this is proven itself to work over time.

[00:09:46] Didn’t happen overnight. Took years and years and years and years, but eventually, What you do and you create, and what you realize is, Wow, I just created a breadcrumb, a digital breadcrumb. Yes. Of my story and journey. So it leads to me now. And I just created trust because now they know who I am. They like what I’m saying, and they like me, hopefully.

[00:10:08] And then now they trust me. By the time we shake hands at a meeting or virtual thing like this or a podcast and they’re like, I just wanna continue hanging out. I just wanna work with. Now that was all done. And when, you know, we have our mutual friend, Rory, who talks about it’s the digitization of your reputation.

[00:10:24] Yes. I just call it your online reputation, and that’s what we’re doing and it’s necessary at this point. There’s really no question. Agreed. 

[00:10:32] Zach White: So in the spirit of Steven Covey, beginning with the end in mind, you mentioned a couple really powerful words about why this personal branding work, this digitization of reputation matters, one of which, Trust and then the other, this kind of bread crumb trail, the body of knowledge and thought leadership that comes from doing it.

[00:10:54] So let’s fast forward a bit. Maybe the engineering leader listening has never even thought about putting themselves out there before and they’re asking that question, Why do this take us to the end game? Eric, why would you suggest this matters in the world of, business and career? what’s the end?

[00:11:15] there’s two. Choose your own adventures, so to speak. there’s the one where you want to create a business potentially, and you wanna offer value to the world, right? And you do that by, by creating results, getting someone to the end, being along the journey with them.

[00:11:28] Erik Cabral: So that’s, that’s a company, that’s what I did. and continue to do. But then there’s also the person. Wants to succeed up the corporate ladder. They want to be the vp, they want to be the president. They want to be a partner in whatever industry, whatever company that they’re currently working in.

[00:11:45] Now today, Zach, today’s day and age, when I was growing up, it didn’t matter what your online reputation was, but today it does matter because as statistics show, especially from, you know, our group brand Builders statistics show that it is expected. For you to have a personal brand at any level, whether you’re attorney, you’re a cpa, you’re a corporate, you’re a C-suite level person.

[00:12:07] People want to do business with people if they have that online reputation set up, because now you’re doing all the hard work for them. They don’t need to go, Give me your five references. let’s have six interviews with you. If you’re putting yourself out there through podcast casting or a podcast, or you have a book or you speak on state, whatever it is where you’re putting yourself out there, there’s a way for people to access your life.

[00:12:31] And whatever version of it you want to put out there, right? A lot of people are very private. They don’t put their family or whatever it is. It’s up to you. Really, truly, you have control over the narrative, over the visuals, over the story that people will consume when deciding if they wanna work with you.

[00:12:49] Zach White: I. . I just wanna put a giant exclamation point on what you just said because it’s easy, especially if you’re in a big company, you might feel that you’ve got a safe, secure job. You’re getting that W2 morphine drip paycheck every month, and it may feel like none of this is necessary. This, you’re tempted to tune into a different podcast right now who as an engineering leader’s like this doesn’t apply to me.

[00:13:13] But it absolutely does, and I’ve seen it with our clients. I see it all the time and honestly, who doesn’t at least check your LinkedIn profile and Google you it’s happening. You may not realize it’s happening. Even your peers are checking your online presence as part of getting to know you in the office and your suppliers, your vendors, your partners, everybody.

[00:13:36] And so, I, I hope people will really take to heart, Eric, what you just shared, cuz it, it matters now and it’s going to matter even more in the future. And I don’t know, you spend a lot more time in this world than me. can you make a case for why this is even more important five or 10 years from now than today?

[00:13:53] Erik Cabral: Yeah. There’s one other thing I wanted to add. and please, if you are listening to this and you’re thinking that it doesn’t apply to me, and Zach and I are saying it absolutely does, and, and we need to pay attention to it, is because say you are C-Suite or say you are part of a team within a corporation or a company.

[00:14:10] Well, when other people are looking to be hired or join the group, they’re going to look at who’s related. Cause they’ll go to LinkedIn and they’ll. These are the people that work there, and they’re gonna eventually click onto and tap onto your profile, and they’re gonna get this holistic view based off everything they see in the.

[00:14:29] And make a decision too. It’s not just we’re choosing people to work with us, they are also choosing to work with, they are also making the decision to work with us as well. So you have to consider that there is a brand collectively that’s BI being put out there. I liken it to the, to the Marvel movies, right?

[00:14:48] I’m a huge geek and it started with Ironman, right? But then we didn’t realize at the time that they were setting up for something bigger than that. Like Ironman, Thor, Captain America, and then eventually they launched the Avengers. Yes, this is your Marvel. This is your franchise. You’re a one piece within the bigger picture, and whether you like it or not, there’s people that are gonna judge and just make a decision based on working with you personally, working with your company, working with whatever it is that you’re involved.

[00:15:18] It matters. It matters. Just like in a band, you know the band, you love the band. You don’t necessarily know everyone’s name in the band, you know, the front guy. But it’s all a holistic sort of mishmash of, of, of something that’s getting put out there that people wanna consume. Oh, I 

[00:15:35] Zach White: love that you just gotten nerdy with me on It’s your marvel, it’s your mar.

[00:15:40] That’s perfect. It really is. I love that. And so we could. You know, a dozen different channels and methods and ways and to make this tactical, the one that for you and I, we have in common, and you are truly one of the world’s best at is podcasting. And I joked with you before we hit record today, that literally.

[00:15:59] You’ve been on the calendar for a while now, waiting for this interview, and in the last couple of weeks I’ve had three clients ask me the question, What do you think about starting a podcast? You know, they listen to the Happy Engineer podcast and they’re asking these questions about branding. They have ideas, they have projects, and they’re, What do you think?

[00:16:16] Should I start a podcast? And so, you know, you’ve been doing this longer than I have Eric. If somebody says, Hey, is it, am I too late to the podcasting game? Is this worth it or should I do it? What would you say to that engineering leader who’s thinking about, Should I start a podcast 

[00:16:34] Erik Cabral: again? We’ll go back to goals, Zach.

[00:16:36] Uh, it’s too late if you wanna be the next Joe Rogan , right? You wanna be the next Dak Shepherd. and the thing is about those guys, and I, I’m gonna put this out there for anyone who, uh, those guys understand that they, they, they worked the cheat. What do I mean by that? They had an audience going in, right?

[00:16:55] They were celebrities coming in to the podcast, so they already had a following. Yes. So for normal people like you and I, we don’t have a following. So the odds of us becoming the next Joe Rogan it’s an uphill battle, right? And it’s also managing expectations. If you wanna start a podcast and think, how do I mom?

[00:17:16] Uh, what’s the ROI on this? Like then you, then your goals are out of order, right? Because what we need to do is offer value first. We need to give, we need to build a community like they already had all that going. So how do you do that when you’re asking right up front, you’re creating a transactional.

[00:17:34] experience for someone and that breaks trust right off the bat, right off the bat. you have to genuinely want to offer and provide value in someone’s life. So that’s the number one piece. Number two is if you hold 

[00:17:47] Zach White: on before number two really quick, Eric.

[00:17:49] Yeah. That point I just want everybody to know that’s not just about podcasting. Like that is you networking with anyone in your industry that is you all the time. Like give to give lead with value. Don’t become known. We talked about reputation earlier. You do not want your digital reputation to be, I’m in it for the transaction and the ROI first.

[00:18:12] Nor do you want your real life reputation to be that. So just like that’s, that’s a really awesome point. So 

[00:18:18] video1793673114: keep 

[00:18:18] Erik Cabral: going. Number two. Yeah. Yeah. And I just wanna highlight too, and I had the fortune, and I’m not, bragging when I mentioned his name, but I was having a conversation with Gary V about this, and he told me, in one of my companies, as I was asking for advice, he said, Dude, you created this company and you built a community.

[00:18:34] But he said you started with a transaction very. I was charging admission to come to an event that I started three K to get in the door, which was fine. It seemed like a really wonderful business. But then it started to kind of like waiver and it wasn’t growing the way I wanted it to grow.

[00:18:49] And that was what he said. He said, You were impatient you created a transactional relat. Too soon So there’s my failure and lesson learned that I want to impart to the audience, so you don’t have to mess it up like I did. Don’t create a transaction, create a relationship. So number two is, We’re in the age where podcasting is ubiquitous, right?

[00:19:11] Podcasting is a necessity. Podcasting, it seems like everyone’s doing it. Why? Because it’s relatively new to the consumer space and the creator space, right? Where now creators we’re back in the day, Oh, you’re a YouTuber. You’re, you’re this or that. You’re an influencer, right? Yeah. That word has kind of gone away.

[00:19:29] Now it’s more like you’re a podcaster and when I say podcaster, think of it this way. You are a content. You’re not necessarily a podcaster. And Zach and I was talk, we’re talking about this before the camera’s turned on, and the mic turn on, is that we’re creating content, right? We’re not necessarily podcasters, we’re business owners who happen to have a podcast, right?

[00:19:47] In that podcast we leverage as a relationship builder, right? A way to get to know someone that we want to talk to. So when you hesitate and you think of like, everyone has a podcast and you know, everyone’s doing what I’m doing. . That’s like someone saying, I’m not gonna write a book because Barnes and Noble is full.

[00:20:06] Amazon is full. why is it that no one is hesitating? Less people are in terms of writing a book, right? Uhhuh. , there’s not enough books. There isn’t enough information out there. Why? Because there’s no one telling your story. Your book is going to look different on the shelf than the other person who’s talking about the same topic.

[00:20:27] Why? Because that person is not. , you’re gonna design a completely different book cover. your words I can guarantee you 100%. The words in your book are going to be different than the book next to it and the book next to it. The book next to it, because you wrote it. So it’s the same exact thing with podcasting.

[00:20:43] you can, you can start a podcast that you think everyone’s talking about. But podcasting isn’t common. Podcasting. There’s 2.8. Podcasts that are out there in the podcast universe. You know how many are active? Like actively putting one out every single week, less than 400,000. Wow. Even less than that.

[00:21:05] I’m just saying there’s not a lot of people who are active . Yeah. I’m terrible at memorizing 

[00:21:08] Zach White: statistics. That’s all right. But point being it’s not as many as you think. Exactly. I’ll even add to this, You know, don’t just think about it as somebody going to Barnes and Noble and browsing the shelf.

[00:21:19] You know, if you’re an engineering leader and you’re applying for that senior director position, or that VP position, And you’re in a pool of five people, you know, and they all are getting checked out online and you are the one who has this thriving content and thought leadership at your space with a pilot like this is a, it’s a very small field that we’re talking about that’s actually being considered cuz it’s unlikely that on day one your goal is to retire early and make all your money as a podcaster.

[00:21:46] It’s about putting yourself out there like we talked about earlier, The doors that may open on the back end are immeasurable. I mean, there’s so many upsides, but I love this. So the era of podcasting, it’s not too late. You, you can literally, just by being consistent and putting content out, stand out from the crowd and you’re not competing with Joe Rogan or Eric or Zach.

[00:22:07] You’re just being yourself, building a digital reputation so that the opportunities you do wanna land you, you create. Open door, there’s less friction to building trust. 

[00:22:21] Erik Cabral: I’d like to highlight as well, and I agree with you a hundred percent, Zach, is the one piece and the one component that a lot of people don’t consider is, who will I become throughout this process?

[00:22:32] Throughout this journey? So you start a podcast, I guarantee. 12 months from now, say you started today at 12 months from now, you are a completely different person. You have learned a boatload of information that otherwise you never would’ve learned if you did not go through the process of starting a podcast.

[00:22:52] Number one, it forces you to think. About the value you provide in people’s lives, it forces you to think about the solutions and the results and your avatar, your clientele, the people that you help and serve. And then it forces you to be consistent with the content that you’re creating. Right. It’s muscle, it’s going to the gym.

[00:23:13] If I didn’t have a gym membership, I would probably never go to the gym. Right? Well, obviously not cuz I, I don’t have my membership card. But the thing is, if you start a podcast, you’re joining the gym. That’s the first. Now you just have to hold yourself accountable by what? Getting a trainer or getting someone that’s going to hold you accountable and you creating a podcast on a weekly basis.

[00:23:32] Does that for. 

[00:23:34] Zach White: That’s brilliant for me too, Eric, and I’d love to know if you relate to this. I feel like my world is bombarded with inputs, constant inbound of information and consumption. And doing this podcast has been one of the most powerful things that forces me to pause the inputs and actually create to have an output, to have to distill all of my own thoughts.

[00:23:59] and learn about these amazing guests and then have these really dynamic conversations and just to get out of constantly listening to other people’s voice and have my own voice, that to me was one of the most transformational parts about doing this. I don’t know, does ever relate for you?

[00:24:16] Erik Cabral: Yeah, a hundred percent. Now people will think, you know, when they hear what you just said as well, that, Oh, well Zach, like you said, it’s information. there’s a lot of information. You can consume it or you can create it either way. There’s a lot of it. Right. And the thing is that I’ve noticed is throughout the last couple of decades, inform.

[00:24:37] Is abundant and people don’t pay for that anymore as they used to, you know, pay for Tony Robbins cassettes and then CDs, and then go to his seminars. Right now he gives it away, right? We’re in the day and age of you have to offer value, right? Jab, jab, jab, right hook as Gary calls it. So the thing is, information is not paid for any anymore, but people pay.

[00:25:00] Organization of that information, right? Implementation of that information. So if you wanna start a podcast and you think, what’s the end goal in mind? I wanna, okay, I wanna create a thought leadership platform. But then also you can create something for people to organize themselves, to hold them accountable, to implement the ideas that you’re sharing on your show.

[00:25:21] That’s a wonderful way to create a side business in the. Knowing that the podcast is going to produce some ROI for you Totally. If you do it right. 

[00:25:32] Zach White: So let’s, in the spirit of being an engineer, I love tactics and, and the Y equals F of X. The systems, Eric, and I know we don’t have time to go through everything, but if you would just lay out for someone, maybe they’re like, Okay, this is cool, I wanna do it.

[00:25:45] What would you give us? Are the just how to begin first steps, the mechanics. If somebody wants to take massive action and go launch a podcast, where do they. 

[00:25:55] so, it’s, it is gonna be a little intimidating when I frame it this way, but if you put the work in, in engineering, you hire an architect before you start, you know, building and laying the foundation and putting sheet rock and, and the framework of a house up, right?

[00:26:08] Erik Cabral: You have to hire someone that has the ideas. So that, of course is you plus an a. Someone that can help you create the structure based off the goals that you have. So what are the goals? And we talk about this, Zach and I talk about this with our other group, is that first you have to, you have to understand, okay, what problem do I solve?

[00:26:26] Right? Write that down. What problem do I solve? And then what is the end result that I provide for people? Like, how do I get them from point A to point Z? But then in the middle, the alphabet in between the A and z is how do you uniquely solve that problem? So that’s the lesson. I mean, that is the, the, the tactical things that you can do when you put pen to paper, like, what problem do I solve?

[00:26:49] What are the results that people are gonna achieve when they work with me, and how am I uniquely going to solve the problems for them? And then we start to market those bookends, right? And then that is amazing. Work that you can put in that will create the structure of your podcast because then now you know why you’re doing it.

[00:27:08] You know the end game for not just yourself, but for your audience, because you’re gonna deliver that message with a clear framework of what you want to do with the podcast. Now, if it’s introductions and relationships that’s baked in, regardless of what you do, whether it’s an interview, podcast, or a solo cast, you are going to be providing value to people.

[00:27:30] Through this information. So like, that’s where I would start, Zach. But then of course, talking to your engineers and talking to the audience here, you have to have systems, you have to have processes, you have to have teams. You have to have people and a level of automation so that this stuff is clockwork.

[00:27:44] You don’t wanna miss an episode because once you miss an episode, you’re breaking the cadence and the trust of the audience that’s looking forward to that episode that’s coming. And trust me, at least one person’s looking forward to an episode, and it’s probably my mom. Your mom, . And that’s, that’s the thing.

[00:28:01] It has to be consistent so that people know. Oh, this is gonna be here. Zach’s gonna be here every Tuesday morning for me, and I’m gonna be able to jump in and learn something. So those are the things that I would highly recommend. You put the work in. or find someone that can help you. Yeah. To, to, uh, crystallize those ideas.

[00:28:19] That is definitely stuff that we do. We work with our clients, typically six weeks, sometimes eight weeks, to launch a podcast. But the structure of the show, what style will it be? Interview solo. All that stuff. 

[00:28:33] I’ll just say it this way, and I’m gonna be blunt, Eric, if the engineering leader listening wants to start a podcast and is intimidated by that, like you’re a fricking engineering leader, like you design cars and you lo you know, build bridges and skyscrapers or full stack architecture to scale technology, you know, to billions of emails, go back to the past episode with, you know, Donna.

[00:28:57] Zach White: You can handle it, but I love what Eric. Don’t do it if you’re not committed to consistency, to just put out two episodes and then never look at it again, doesn’t actually serve that in game of creating the thought leadership and the digital reputation that’s gonna help you. Whether it’s to become, CTO at meta or to one day start your own thing.

[00:29:20] You may not even know what that is today, but a decade from now, when you’re ready, you have this incredible reputation to launch from. so consistency and commit. To me is probably the most important thing that you said. You know, shameless plug, Eric and his team are freaking fantastic at helping with all of this.

[00:29:37] So if you just wanna show up and record and hit the easy button, I have no bashfulness at all saying like, I love the fact that I can hit the easy button for this show, and, uh, I’ve got other work to do. You know, So for the engineering leader saying, Hmm, can I handle it well, you absolutely can, invest in those tools and resources, it can be done.

[00:29:55] So, I don’t know any other thoughts about don’t do it unless you’re committed to this. What do you. 

[00:30:01] I would at least commit to 12 months of a podcast because, Yeah, I’ll tell you this with the clients we work with, whenever I say that to someone, 100% of them go beyond 12 months.

[00:30:12] Erik Cabral: Why? Because they’re getting results, right? They understand it’s not about, Monetizing the podcast and slapping a, a ZipRecruiter logo on the baby’s forehead when it was just born, right? You want it to breathe. You want it to grow. You want it to crawl, run, and eventually get to the point where people are looking into your show and saying, Hey, Zach.

[00:30:33] I love what you’re doing. Who’s your audience again? And you’re very clear on your audience. You’re like, That’s the demographic that I wanna speak to. And would you mind if I put a 32nd spot? Yes. That’s the, that that is a really cool, nice to have. But at that point, you won’t even care because you’ve created all these relationships, you’ve built all this trust, you’ve built a community.

[00:30:51] And that is critical is when you build a community. I’m gonna borrow from what I learned from Lewis House is when you say, when you write a. if you have a hundred people in your community, that’s all you need. If you write a book, those a hundred people can sustain you and your business forever.

[00:31:07] Right? That’s all you need. And once you’re in the home, this is, I love this one too from Lewis, is that once you’re in the home, you’re in the heart. Ooh. He was talking about a book at that point. But this is the same with a podcast because think about it. Why do we love the Rolling Stones? Why do we love Pearl Jam?

[00:31:22] Why do we love all these bands? We as teens and young adults would listen with our earbuds and we. Feel the music and it would touch our heart and we would really understand where this artist was coming from. It’s the same exact thing with a podcast. Someone’s got the earbuds in and they’re running at the gym and they’re listening to your voice and you’re speaking to them.

[00:31:48] Yeah, and you’re, you’re, and people don’t remember what you said, but they remember how you made them feel. And that is critical with the podcast, and that is why it’s exploding, because people are beginning to realize, holy moly, this is a powerful tool that I can leverage. In my business, in my personal brand, in my podcast.

[00:32:05] So with systems and processes, understand that there are ways to get beyond the barriers and break through the barriers of consistency and let this batching, That’s one thing I wanna share is like I record every Thursday from morning tonight, three or four episodes, and then I’m done for a month. One day of work creates, Yeah, dozens and dozens and dozens of pieces of content.

[00:32:26] That’s what we do is every episode gets chopped up into assets. Yeah. For every platform. And it’s all auto automatically done. Uh, so that’s where I highly recommend if you’re going to do it, think of that game is like, how do I systematize this 

[00:32:42] Zach White: automatically done? I love that word, Eric. Oh man. Engineers relate to this auto magic.

[00:32:47] That’s what we do, in our day to day lives. So, and I’ll just bring it back one more time too. If somebody’s like, Hey, I don’t have a business. Just imagine if you’re applying for a new role at a new company. You want a promotion and you’re building your career path, and that interviewer. Plugs in to the digital universe the night before and sees, Oh, Eric has a podcast and he’s applying for this director position.

[00:33:13] I’m gonna listen to one of those episodes tonight before the interview tomorrow, and that, VP has you in their ear for 30 minutes or 60 minutes the night before, and you show up for that interview and they’re asking you questions about your podcast and, and engaged. And you just imagine how much of an advantage that is.

[00:33:32] And you said like, the home and the heart, just that No, like trust Wow. I mean, you, you, what an advantage. So I, I think there’s so many reasons we’ve laid out. I mean, here we’re just like hammering on people. The message here is not you have to start a podcast. The message is recognized that if you don’t take the heartbeat of personal branding of what Eric’s been sharing, seriously, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to not only get a ton of reward.

[00:34:01] In the fulfilling experiences of doing it, but an edge in a global marketplace where frankly, engineers who can work remotely. And almost every discipline now, except for roads and bridges, , it’s like, how do you compete? Well, here’s a way. So 

[00:34:16] Erik Cabral: I want, I wanna share one last thing here, Zach, if we have a moment please.

[00:34:19] The example that you shared, plays out in my head as this, Because of my personal brand and the opportunities that I provide clients and friends and partners or people that I wanna talk to, right? So, uh, I’m blessed enough to be able to work with Vayner Media and Gary and his team. Well, I got close to Claude Silver, who’s the Chief Heart Officer of Vayner Media.

[00:34:37] So to the point where she asked me to produce her podcast. So she is a client of ours. We, we produce Claw Silvers podcast, emotional optimism. So how cool is this? If and ever there was a time, let’s say, you know, the meteor hit or whatever the, the apocalypse came and, and there was only jobs and there was like, I had to fold my company.

[00:34:57] whatever happens, I always know in the back of my mind there’s Claude Silver and dozens of others that I am close to at that high letter level leadership multiple companies that I would work. In a drop of a hat. Yes. Hey, Claude, you looking for Yes, Eric. Because she knows she knows me. She’s worked with me.

[00:35:18] Erik Cabral: Yeah. And now I Why? Because I had a podcast. Because I had an opportunity to share with her and say, Hey. I’m not saying, Hey, can you go have a cup of coffee with me in New York City? I’m saying, Hey, be a guest on my show. Speak on my stages. Do whatever it is that I can give to you. What you’re doing is you’re creating a platform for others to share their thoughts, their ideas, and and their value in the world.

[00:35:39] you’re giving, you’re giving, giving, giving your podcast gives nonstop, even when you’re sleeping. It’s given. 

[00:35:47] Zach White: I love that, Eric, if the engineering leader, listen. Is convinced now that they wanna chat about this and discover more about what on Air Brands does and how you could help press the easy button or just get some support on, how do I discover more about this and other aspects of branding and channels to go put yourself out there.

[00:36:07] Where can they find you in the amazing work that you’re doing? 

[00:36:10] Erik Cabral: Yeah, I have something to give everyone. If you’re thinking about podcasting, I have a podcast giveaway. It’s a guide. You can find that at Eric e i k cabal. And I’m sure hopefully these s team will put this link in the nose, but it correct.

[00:36:24] Of course. So eric Slash guide and in there will be a downloadable PDF all about podcasting and tips for you as well as a way to schedule some time. So time is my, most valued commodity. And I’m, I’m, I’m happy to give that to your audience. Uh, 30 minutes, consult, uh, free consult.

[00:36:45] If you wanna chat for a little bit, just throw some ideas, some spaghetti at the wall, and, uh, see what. What an 

[00:36:51] Zach White: amazing offer time is our, our only exclusively limited and leveling resource. So it’s Eric, that’s super generous. Thank you for that. I always end in the same place, and you’ll appreciate this with the work you do and our engineers who listen, you know, I believe great coaching, great engineering, it all has in common that the questions we ask lead.

[00:37:15] Answers, then follow. And so if we want to create a great brand, if we wanna create success, be happy. Let’s pay attention to the questions we ask ourselves. So for that engineering leader listening today, who wants to create an advantage in their career through personal branding and everything we covered in this conversation, what would be the question that she would lead them with?

[00:37:41] Erik Cabral: It’s a deep one, honestly, Zach. but what gets you up in the morning Now that changes over time. It changed for me. And now I used to get up every morning for the money, and then I realized at some point I needed a greater purpose, and that was to change the world one mike at a time. And that became my company’s mantra.

[00:38:01] And how do I do that? Through various ways that we discussed here. But you find your why, your reason, your mission, your purpose. That will transcend making money because as I have now grown to understand that money is a byproduct of value, and once you create more value in the world and become more valuable, time is irrelevant.

[00:38:23] It’s about you stepping in the moment and being able to change someone’s life. Within minutes, within seconds by just a conversation. So I’m hoping that at some point, anyone who’s listening thinks like you are capable of that. Why? Because I did it , I did it, and that was a hot mess. So, I’m inspired that you are listening to this podcast and that eventually we’ll find that purpose 

[00:38:47] Zach White: in your life.

[00:38:48] Eric, you did it. You’re still doing it. Thank you so much for the value in this conversation. I got so much from it and uh, you’re just amazing the work you do. Thank you so much and this has been a true pleasure, man. Thanks brother. Thanks for 

[00:39:00] Erik Cabral: the opportunity and, uh, I, I can’t wait to continue this bromance that we’re happy.

[00:39:04] So thanks brother. 

[00:39:06] Zach White: Cheers.