StartUs Presents: Burzcast

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Meet Razvan Burz, the voice behind Burzcast, a Romanian podcast focused on technology and self-improvement.

Describe Burzcast in 50 words or less.

Burzcast is a Romanian podcast about Productivity, Technology, Management and Lifestyle, present on a vast majority of podcasting networks. Each week, Razvan Burz, the host of the show, talks about these topics with entrepreneurs and other inspiring people.

Describe yourself: Who are you and what is your role inside this startup?

My name is Razvan Burz and I am the co-founder of the Romanian podcast Burzcast, a weekly podcast about Productivity, Technology, Management and Lifestyle. I am also a web/software developer and IT consultant. My background is in IT and from 2006 to 2009 I was a hardware technician at a local computer store. At the end of 2009 I have decided to leave the employee life behind and start my own business. On 18 July 2014 my wife and I started the Burzcast podcast alongside my development business. A lot of the money I am earning from my development business is reinvested into our podcast. I am also passionate about photography (although I am still a rookie), video games, quality books and the Internet of Things.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

After two other failed tries to start a podcast in Romania, where the podcast scene is rather empty, I have decided to give it one more try, inspired by podcasts from John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn and Leo Laporte. My first podcast was a single episode recorded with a fellow software developer, in 2009, followed by another one in 2011. Both these podcasts were single episode podcasts with only a small number of listeners. After reading “Podcast Launch: How to Create, Grow & Monetize YOUR Podcast” by John Lee Dumas I finally decided that I should do this and do it the right way, as describes so well in the book. My wife, the co-founder of Burzcast gave me her full support and encouraged me to pursue this dream.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Burzcast is a podcast dedicated to all the people who are willing to make a change in their life for something better, whether they are entrepreneurs or somehow leaders in their field or listeners who just want to lead a more productive life. We believe that technology is part of our life, and used correctly, can improve everyone’s life. Every day employees go to work, do the tasks assigned to them and come back home unsatisfied with their job and not very productive. With Burzcast we are trying to change this mindset. We want people to get inspired by our guests, Romanian entrepreneurs who share their experiences, failures and lessons learned throughout their entrepreneurial life. We want our listeners to up their game and do the best they can in their life and with their job.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

In podcasting, success comes in three ways: success means that your message touches more people, which is measured by the number of listeners your podcast has, broke down by episode. This, by the way, helps us understand better which topics our listeners like more. Then there is the number of engaged people who share our podcast, our guests’ messages with their peers and friends through social networks. Lastly and most importantly, there’s the sum of money which comes into our bank accounts every single month from our advertisers and affiliates. Passion is good, but if there is also a remuneration, you may call it a perfect business.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

As the podcast is one of my two businesses, the main being a web development group, I am doing most of my work on the web development projects from 9 am until 6 pm, with an hour launch break at 1 pm. In the morning I check my e-mails to see if the invited guests replied to our invitation to participate via Skype to a recording, then I start my development tasks assigned the day before. Now it’s just design, code, test, change, design code – repeat, with some background music from the newly released Apple Music. Music helps me concentrate better. After 6 pm, I usually have guests contact me via Skype and we start recording our show’s episodes or have live shows with another fellow podcaster, also via Skype.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the podcast like you imagined it in the beginning?

When we started this podcast we did some research and found out who is our avatar. We actually found three different avatars for our show. We are able to target these people by asking ourselves how our avatar(s) would listen and why they would listen to our show. Now our show is available on many podcast networks, including vTuner, which listeners are listening to in their homes, on their Hi-Fi sound systems or in their cars. There are also many listeners who listen to our podcast directly on our newly designed web site. We like this and want more people to do this, as with our website we can offer them more related information, can ask them to subscribe to our newsletter and we don’t encourage people to leave our website to go to some general podcast directory. On the other hand if that is where they find new podcasts, why not be there to be found, too?

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

For now, the podcast is financed 75% by my web development business income and only 25% from earnings related to the advertising in the podcast. In the future, as our business plan stipulates, the podcast will be financed 100% from advertising and podcasting products, such as a book on educating people on how to podcast, completely written by Romanian podcasters and other products related to our podcast, such as online courses and workshops.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

For now, the competition on podcasting in Romania is very low. All our fellow podcasters with a decent podcast are our friends, we help each other, encourage each other, but I am relying on my development skills to create additional products for our listeners and to keep our business advantage. We have developed a handful of product development plans which will help us become future-proof for the next 10 years. We like competition and in podcasting competition means more advertisers, which mean better podcasts. We have also invested large sums of money to build high quality podcasting setups and a high quality studio.

What do you look for in team members?

Passion is the keyword! Our newest team member should be passionate about podcasting, about the scope of podcasting, which in our case is defined above. We are looking for talented passionate sound engineers who can help us post-produce the shows more quickly and easily as we are on the verge of starting one more show, a parenting one.

Why would a talent join your team?

Working with a team of people passionate about their podcast and the things they do in New Media, combining the elements of old podcasting techniques with new live streams, creating new content that inspire people all over Romania to give their best each day, and also having a great retribution – those are all reasons some talent would want to join us.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

There isn’t one. Each podcast is a new experience and a new memorable moment. Many times my wife and I sit down, check the listening charts on Libsyn and see how each podcast is performing in terms of listenings. Then we remember how we did that podcast, who was on and what new lesson we have learned from that guest. Each guest is a source of inspiration to us too and comes with his or her new memorable moments. Sometimes we remember the moments we had with our fellow podcasters, talking late in the night, with our recorders on, to capture our talks for a back-up podcast.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Never give up on your dream! Robin Sharma said it in his book “The Greatness Guide”: “Every great leader (or visionary or brave thinker) was initially laughed at. Now they are revered.” Dream big, start small, begin now. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that your business is too small to be noticed. Work smart every day, put passion into it, keep a clear, achievable and measurable list of goals you want to reach, and work toward them each and every day. Do your best and let life do the rest.


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