I just finished my first year of podcasting and the numbers are in. Here are my 10 most popular podcast episodes based on downloads along with a key idea shared on each episode. This is a long post but well worth your time!

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top 10 Top 10 Podcast Episodes

1. Tony Robbins, entrepreneur, peak performance strategist, best-selling author, humanitarian

Perhaps no surprise, the world-famous peak performance coach, life and business strategist, and #1 bestselling author topped the list. And the way I got him on the show has a great backstory.

In November 2014, I wrote a guest post for InvestmentNews about Tony’s new book, Money: Master the Game. Tony saw it then reached out to me on Twitter to comment about my article. We had a brief exchange and made a point to connect in person a few weeks later at the MarketCounsel Summit in Las Vegas. We met at the summit after his keynote presentation, chatted, snapped some pictures, then I said I’d love to have you on my podcast. He said let’s see if we can make that happen. A little while later, I got an email from one of his team members asking if I’d be available to interview Tony for my show the following evening at 8:00pm. The next night, Tony and I spent about one hour on Skype and that conversation became my most popular episode of the year.

Tony was extremely gracious and generous with his time.

A few months after the podcast, I attended Tony’s Unleash the Power Within in Chicago and had an incredible experience. I’ll be writing a post about my experience at the event along with several other financial advisor friends of mine who also attended one of Tony’s live events.

Key Podcast Insight: Tony told a great story about moving from a feeling of scarcity to one of abundance and he wrapped it up by saying, “If you don’t give a dime out of a dollar, you’re never going to give a million out of ten million, or ten million out of 100 million. So the place to start is when you think you have nothing because you’ll teach your brain there’s more than enough.”

Visit my InvestmentNews.com article about Tony’s episode for more details. At the time of its publication in April, it was the single most viewed post on all of InvestmentNews.com.

2. Steve Sanduski on Exponential Technology

I’ve been fascinated for years by companies that use technology and network effects to scale rapidly. So earlier this year, I attended the Exponential Finance Conference in New York to learn more about the latest technology that is reshaping the financial business.

At the conference, I spent some time with Peter Diamandes, the co-founder of Singularity University and founder of the X-Prize, among many other accomplishments. Salim Ismail, the author of Exponential Organizations, was another key speaker.

My episode on exponential technology proved quite popular and I encourage you to listen to it. With that said, the takeaway I want to share is not technology related. But it could change how you embrace technology.

Key Podcast Insight: Peter told me your mindset is your most important asset. As I thought about that, I realized most people are saying that time is your most important asset. So I asked him to explain. He said the reality is that if you don’t have the right mindset, you’re not going to use your time wisely. Fair enough. My advice to you is to have a mindset of abundance, of expansion, of growth, of possibilities, of curiosity, just really be open to a future that could be very different from today and one that actually could be much better than today. I think technology can be a key to making your future much brighter, much bigger, and more profitable.

3. Jon Stein, founder of Betterment

Jon and I got on Skype in late 2014 as the firm was just approaching $1 billion in assets under management. One year later, they hit $3 billion. That’s exponential growth!

During my trip to NY in mid-2015 to attend the Exponential Conference, I stopped in to see Jon and checkout their HQ in Manhattan. True to form, it looked like a Silicon-Valley startup with ping pong tables, couches, bike racks, a chef, and lots of wide-open space with cool looking furniture.

During the podcast, Jon shared Betterment’s “creation story” and how they got a fast start and never looked back. It’s now clear that Betterment is one of the top three “survivors” in the robo race and they have a real shot at becoming a meaningful force in the industry.

Key Podcast Insight: One of the more surprising things Jon told me was how he felt they would prosper during a bear market. He said, “I think that there’s a misperception that we are somehow more sensitive to the downside. I think that we’re actually positioned to grow even faster during a market decline as people get upset about other investments they have and start looking for something consistent, something reliable, something that takes advantage of the best investment strategies regardless of market conditions.” We’ll see.

4. Elliot Weissbluth, founder of HighTower Advisors

Elliot told me he started HighTower by asking, “If we had a blank piece of paper and a blank slate and I started with my mom as the client, what would she expect from a thoughtful financial advisor?”

From that question, Elliot worked backward and built a business that has grown from $0 to $30 billion in assets in less than 10 years. Mom would no doubt be proud!

A few months after recording the show, I attended HighTower’s Apex event and picked up a few more nuggets about the company. To top it off, Elliot and I happened to sit next to each other at the Tony Robbins event in Chicago.

Bottom line is Elliot and the team have built a phenomenal company and the management insights he shared on my show are well worth listening to.

Key Podcast Insight: Elliot shared how he “fires” himself every year as part of a self-evaluation exercise. “I really go through the process of terminating myself and then I rehire myself. I write in my journal what are the things I did that led to my termination and then what are the things that I, as the new CEO, will do differently,” he said. The process works because the “psychological freedom” you gain by distancing yourself from the guy who made last year’s decisions is “quite liberating.”

Visit my InvestmentNews.com article about Elliot’s episode for more details.

5. David Canter, Executive VP, Practice Management and Consulting, at Fidelity

As an alum of the University of Wisconsin, David and I had an immediate connection since two of my kids went there while a third is on her way there. And in a couple weeks, we’ll be on a panel together at Mariner Wealth Advisors’ National Conference, facilitated by Marty Bicknell, another 2015 guest on the show.

Fidelity has done a masterful job at researching best practices and then building out a consulting program to deliver what they’ve learned. In our podcast, David shared some of their most recent research on what the “Marketing Leaders” in the RIA space were doing to build their businesses.

I was blown away by Fidelity’s book, Be Greater, a real jewel in the practice management area. David and I discussed some of the points from this book, too.

Key Podcast Insight: Far more Marketing Leaders have a written marketing plan than other RIAs. Shockingly, of the RIAs that did not have a written marketing plan, 41% of them said they have a plan but it’s not written down. As I tell my coaching clients, if it’s not written down, it’s not a plan.

6. James Osborne, young, successful RIA with non-standard business model

I did a series of podcasts with young successful advisors to get a better understanding of what’s going on with the next generation of advisors and investors. And it was enlightening!

James is a solo-advisor, manages about $100 million, does financial planning, charges a flat-fee of $4,500 per client and doing the math, his fee is roughly the equivalent of 25bps on AUM. He’s out robo-ing the robos.

While his method is unconventional, it definitely works for him and his clients.

Key Podcast Insight: Most advisory firms are trying to “institutionalize” the client relationship to mitigate the risk of an advisor leaving and taking clients with them. James has a completely different view of this. He said, “I think it’s really hard for a bigger firm to endear a client relationship to a firm or a brand versus individual advisors. I think that those firms would probably find it much more profitable to keep those advisors happy and on board and make sure that they are doing everything they can do to strengthen and deepen client relationships versus trying to end around the advisor by institutionalizing the relationship.”

7. Joe Duran, founder of United Capital

Certainly one of the most colorful and eloquent personalities in the industry, Joe did not disappoint on this podcast.

I got to know Joe quite well in 2014 and was very familiar with the firm’s history. And it’s pretty amazing. From growing up in a horrible environment in South Africa to moving to the U.S. and founding what is now one of the absolute top RIA firms in the country, Joe has much to tell.

Never shy, Joe takes strong positions and builds deep loyalty among his team. Recently, the firm has emphasized “financial life management” as it prepares for a world where basic investment management is commoditized. Be sure to read the article I wrote about the firm’s move to financial life management.

Key Podcast Insight: Joe said, “The more important you are to the business, the less valuable the business is.” What are you doing to make the business less dependent on you?

8. Steve Sanduski on Robo Up or Get Left Behind

Similar to my episode on Exponential Technology, this one was more focused on robo technology in particular. It makes an excellent pairing with Simon Roy’s episode on how Jemstep is “consumerizing” the onboarding of advisory clients.

This show covers my follow-up conversation with Jon Stein, a conversation with Bill Harris of Personal Capital, and hearing Ric Edelman and Bill Bachrach speak at the Exponential Conference. BTW, Bill asked the audience to raise their hand if they were a financial advisor. Sadly, only five hands went up.

Key Podcast Insight: Consumers are getting spoiled with services like Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, and the iPhone and they expect the same level of ease and access when working with an advisor. If you don’t deliver it, you’ll lose clients to advisors who will.

9. Brittney Castro, young, successful RIA with unconventional marketing strategy

With a clear focus on women and using social media to connect and get her message out, Brittney has done a marvelous job making a name for herself at a young age.

From her “rap” personal finance video to frequent Instagram posts, Brittney is shaking up the staid world of RIA marketing.

Round out my series on millennials by listening to the show with Brandon Moss and Jarrod Upton of United Capital and Alan Moore of X/Y Planning Network.

If the group of millennial advisors I had on my podcast this year are any indication, the future of our industry is in good hands.

Key Podcast Insight: Brittney said, “People come to me and they always say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so refreshing to see what you’re doing and your model because I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t want to go to the traditional guy, the older guy or the firm that was so stuffy and corporate and I don’t feel like they understand what I need and I don’t feel like I’m learning anything.’ That’s one of the biggest things people tell me is that the advisors that they’ve met or have worked with just don’t communicate with them in a way that’s empowering and uplifting.”

10. Jud Bergman, founder of Envestnet

As the founder of Envestnet, Jud has been at the nexus of every major trend happening in the financial services industry for the past 15 years. And as a serial acquirer, Jud and his team have built an industry behemoth.

With recent acquisitions including Yodlee for big data and analytics, FinanceLogix for financial planning, and Upside for robo advisor–coupled with its many existing businesses–Envestnet has a window into almost every corner of what’s happening in the financial advisor space.

We had a wide-ranging talk that addressed how advisors can add value in a robo world, how the promise of “big data” and account aggregation will help advisors and clients make more money and reach better outcomes, and why having an offering for millennials that may not fit your normal account minimum is an essential ingredient for the successful advisor of the future

Key Podcast Insight: Jud highlighted research that indicated advisors can add upwards of 3.0% of added value per year over time. He said, “Our Capital Sigma study indicates that there’s 280 to 300 basis points per year that an advisor can add in value. The value comes in these areas: financial planning, asset class selection and allocation, investment selection, systematic rebalancing, and tax management.”

It was an outstanding first year for my Between Now and Success podcast and 2016 promises to be even better.

Thank you to everyone who’s listening and please spread the word.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. Click here to do so. And while you’re there, please leave a review of the show and rate it (5 stars are always appreciated!).

I’m looking forward to helping you make 2016 your best year yet.

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Steve Sanduski, CFP® is the CEO and co-founder of ROL Advisor, founder of Belay Advisor, host of the Between Now and Success Podcast, a New York Times bestselling author, and an international speaker.

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