The FIRST Model

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Image representing Joe Sanok's FIRST Model when creating a podcast | Practice of the Practice Podcast | Blog | August 2021

As a podcaster it’s good to know the technology, sounds, and overall edits of a podcast. If the final product isn’t good, less people will listen. Equally important is understanding how to optimize that podcast and work outside of the actual recording.

Thursday is the New Friday Cover | Joe Sanok | FIRST ModelMost podcasters don’t have a strategy to really take things to the next level. In this article, I’m going to outline the FIRST Model. I go in-depth talking about this in my new book Thursday is the New Friday (HarperCollins), but I thought I’d give this blueprint here, because it has changed the outcomes of my business. 

The FIRST Model comes out of wanting to have a system to optimize it has five sections: Fruit, Inflect, Reinvest, Specialize, and Time Limited. 


Fruit | Low-hanging fruit:

Often creatives look for new and shiny ideas, services, or ways to grow a podcast. But in reality, your audience probably already will give you the next steps. There is usually low hanging fruit such as optimizing sales, repurposing shows, and using show notes for a product or book. By identifying what’s already working and how we can effectively and rapidly enhance those systems, it creates more profit than starting something new.

Inflect | Act as if . . . :

During the Inflect Phase, you’re looking at areas to expand your expertise, offerings, and outcomes. By inflecting in a direction you seek, you’re magnifying and pushing yourself to play bigger. To be clear, you are not lying, saying you are an expert when you are not, or falsifying anything. I teach actions that build a brand and image that help you to stand out quickly and are built on acting as if you are an expert (because you already are). Most people don’t realize how valuable their baseline education and experiences are to the world. By doing this, it will also press you to grow your knowledge base, stories, and behavior faster while utilizing undervalued skills and expertise you already possess.

Reinvest | Make the business stronger:

This part of the approach trains you to quickly take off hats and know the real ROI on your time. Most new business leaders will wear multiple hats in an effort to save money. But they don’t see that if they focused on the specific tasks that they are suited for, it would help them expand and grow. Instead most will limp along and wonder why their bottom line isn’t expanding. 

Specialize | Stand out and micro-niching:

Pick a market you can really stand out in as an expert. I teach how to get very specific and how to both recognize and attract your particular ideal client. Many are so worried that if they specialize, they will miss their market as they scoop up everyone. But serving too broad a market can be draining and you already know which part of the market excites and satisfies you best, but you may not yet be willing to admit it or embrace it. 

Time-limited | six- and twelve-month goals:

Forget five-year plans and goals; let’ll set up triggers and planning in really short time spans. Think about who you were five years ago. Should that person have planned what you work on today? Quite a bit has changed in your personal and business life, as well as in the world. Imagine if you rigidly stuck to that five year plan. Instead, focus on shorter goals and sprints. 

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok is the author of Thursday is the New Friday (HarperCollins). He is also a private practice business consultant who has the #1 podcast for counselors in private practice, The Practice of the Practice Podcast.