Today I had the pleasure of speaking with David Thomas Tao. David is the CEO and Co-Founder of BarBend.com, a media brand providing a platform for news, analysis, entertainment, and opinion for all things relevant in strength-based competition and training. David, himself trained in weight lifting, when he was still in college and before the sport was well-known. He took his passion for the sport with him and his skills in journalism to create a successful and unique media company.
Let’s dive into David’s story and learn how he was able to leverage his passion and skills to create something diverse in a usually niche market.
[00:01 – 08:45] Opening Segment
David’s journey started in a truck warehouse where he started training for weight lifting as a college student. The truck warehouse wasn’t the most ideal place for training. Every time they’re going to use the place, he and his buddies will have to move the truck and everything else that’s in there to make room for their training equipment, and then put back everything to where they originally were after. There were also no heaters, insulation, and they have to dig out snow during winter but still, their group’s bond became stronger because of these experiences. They created a strong sense of community, which also became one of David’s inspirations for BarBend. He founded BarBend with the thought of giving back to the community, which members were so generous to him and to each other.
[08:46 – 21:40] From Snowshed to CEO of BarBend
David talks about his experiences training as a weightlifter in a truck warehouse snow shed in Boston, and the wonderful community that he had been a part of. Back then, weightlifting was not very popular but things changed a lot when crossfit paved the way for strength sports to become mainstream. This was also influential when David reached that point in his career when he could already found or co-found a brand about strength sports. He went from being entry-level journalist, to health and fitness journalist, to consultant for brands that have to produce health and fitness content, and to being able to turn his passion about weightlifting into a profitable business as co-founder and CEO of BarBend.
Keep on listening to hear how David and his team make their content stand out from the rest of the noise and successfully monetize it.
[21:41 – 32:49] Learning From Early Struggles
After founding BarBend in 2016, David talks about their struggles as a new company. They first started blogging and livestreaming sports events. However, after spending time and money, they realized that livestreaming was not worth it and they had to change a few things to increase their revenue.
BarBend’s new main business strategy is diversification of their revenue streams. Since their product is content, their goal now is to think of as many as possible ways to monetize it. This include the following: ads on websites, e-commerce, newsletter, sponsorships, sponsored content, podcast sponsorship, and reviews of products, among others.
With the content creation world getting more and more saturated especially during Covid-19, you may be wondering, how does BarBend make their content stand out from the rest of the noise? David shares two valuable tips:
- Always approach things as professionally as possible.
- Work on getting better and better and make sure the experiences of your readers and listeners is always improving.
So whether you’re a sole business owner seeking to make yourself look, sound, and feel more professional online, or whether you have your own team and seeking to create something that really adds value instead of just adding to the noise, listen to my conversation with David. You don’t want to miss his tips!
[32:50 – 44:45] The FOCUS FIVE Segment
The FOCUS FIVE are five questions I ask every guest on my show. Keep on listening to find out what book David gifts most often; who would he talk to if he can get an hour of any person living or dead and why; that one thing he believes but most people will disagree with; his morning routine; and lastly, where are the best places we can connect with him online. (See the links below for David’s social media links!)
“If you don’t have a critical mass of awareness, it’s very difficult to build an audience…” – David Thomas Tao
“We are strongest when our money comes from a lot of different sources and not all our eggs are in one basket.” – David Thomas Tao
“All we can do is get better and better and make sure that the experience our people have is improving over time, and I think that’s easier to do when you have a team that can give feedback to each other…” – David Thomas Tao
Resources mentioned in the episode:
You can connect with David on Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to visit his website https://barbend.com/ to learn more about what he does and how you can become a part of it. Don’t forget to check out the Barbend Podcast to get even more awesome content from David.
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