Entrepreneur: Anthony Fasano
Tilt: Helping engineers and engineering firms grow
Other Channel: Blog
Time to First Dollar: 2 years
Rev Streams: Sponsorships, learning and development programs
Our Favorite Actionable Advice:
- Don’t go for big audiences: Identifying a content tilt that appeals to a mass audience is a mistake. Find a niche, as Anthony did with engineering career advice, that will appeal to an interested audience.
- Be ready for ups and downs: When a primary client left, Anthony had to return to a traditional job, but he didn’t stop working on EMI. Five years later, he became a full-time content entrepreneur and expanded his business.
- Partner up: Anthony works with industry associations in cross-promotion trades. He gives a free podcast sponsorship in exchange for access to their audiences.
The Story of Anthony Fasano
A podcast for engineers? When Anthony Fasano launched The Engineering Career Coach Podcast in 2013, he heard from plenty of naysayers.
“People were like, ‘Engineers are way too busy to listen to a podcast about their careers. That’s not going to take off,’” he says.
He proved his critics wrong. Today, that podcast has been downloaded more than 2.5M times, and Anthony has launched seven more, along with three YouTube channels. (Anthony also was named a 2023 Unsung Content Entrepreneur by The Tilt.)Naysayers said engineers were too busy to listen to a podcast about their careers. @AnthonyJFasano built a thriving content business w/ 8 podcasts and 3 @YouTube channels with that tilt. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorExpo Click To Tweet
The podcasts and YouTube channels are all part of his successful business, Engineering Management Institute. It also includes learning and development programs for engineers and engineering firms.
As a civil engineer by training, Anthony could have spent his career building bridges. But, he says, “Building bridges was just a bridge to get me here because I’m an entrepreneur, and I didn’t want to necessarily do engineering my whole career.
“I like to grow things. I like to help people,” he says. “And I think this was the perfect kind of problem that needed to be solved, and I love doing this.”
Growing the old-fashioned way
The genesis for the Engineering Managing Institute stems from Anthony’s career. Working in the profession, he realized he needed not just technical skills but communication and project management skills to move into leadership positions.
“I worked on those skills, developed them, and I saw growth in my career,” he says. Anthony’s boss asked him to teach those soft skills to others. He did and loved it.
Anthony continued his education at an executive coaching school and joined Toastmasters to bolster his public-speaking skills. He developed an internal training program for engineers at his employer and realized a market existed for it beyond his workplace. In 2012, he struck out on his own, launching the institute – and soon that first podcast.
A decade ago, podcasts were just taking off, and webinars weren’t as common. Anthony built an engaged network the old-fashioned way – traveling from U.S. state to U.S. state for engineering association conferences and events. Engineers packed his talks, confirming his recognition of the market need for the content delivered.@AnthonyJFasano built his audience the old-fashioned way, taking down names and emails on paper at conferences and sending links when his podcast went live. #CreatorEconomy #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet
Anthony handed out his self-published book Engineering Your Own Success at the events and gathered email addresses on paper. He sent his podcast links to that email list. His fan base grew by word of mouth.
‘Almost overwhelming’ growth
Anthony’s business is two-pronged – content and training. The institute’s corporate learning and development programs are booming, focusing on custom project management training for large engineering firms.
A team of five produces the content. The network of content includes podcasts for civil engineers, structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, engineering quality control, project management, and engineering and technology. YouTube channels cover advice for engineering careers and exams.
Anthony says the content’s impact is twofold. It’s a great avenue to reach potential customers for the training programs and it’s a source of revenue. About two years into his first podcast, he netted his first significant sponsor, who remains an important supporter eight years later. And other sponsors have lined up to get their products and service in front of engineers, too.
“What helped us in this regard is there wasn’t a lot of content like this for engineers,” he says. “The number of downloads wasn’t as critical to the sponsors. It was just the fact that … we had that audience, period. And we were in contact with them consistently.”
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Early on, he lost his primary client, forcing a return to the workforce to run a nonprofit engineering association. He jumped back to full time at his business five years ago, and the institute has “exploded,” Anthony says. “It’s almost overwhelming.”The loss of a primary sponsor sent #ContentEntrepreneu @AnthonyJFasano back to traditional full-time work while he continued to build @EngMgtInstitute. Five years later, he became a full-time content entrepreneur. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
Updating content consistently is another ongoing – but necessary – challenge for success. “If you don’t, you’re not going to get the community that you want to build,” he says. “You’re not going to be able to help as many people as you want because you’re not going to get the reach that you want.”
Advice for content entrepreneurs
For other content creators, Anthony Fasano has these tips:
Too many newbie content creators don’t launch because they think their content is too niche – that it won’t attract a big enough audience. “People think, ‘If I go too niche, there are not enough people to build a business,’” he says. “But that’s not true. It’s the opposite. If you go real niche, there’s probably people that you’re speaking to that really need what you’re giving them, and they can’t get it anywhere else.”
He’s seen potential competitors come and go, and often, they weren’t publishing consistently. “You just have to publish because people are waiting for your information,” he says. “Even if you don’t have a perfectly polished script, but you get on there, come up with a couple of good tips for them and share with them, they’re going to be happy, and it’s going to keep your momentum rolling.”
Since the beginning, Anthony has partnered with engineering associations for promotional trade deals. He gives a free podcast sponsorship, for example, and they share the links with their members. “That worked really well for us because they got some exposure. We probably got a lot more exposure because they had really big membership bases,” Anthony says. “And that really helped us to build our subscriber base and build our content.”
Meet and learn from Anthony Fasano at the 2023 Creator Economy Expo May 1-3 in Cleveland. Register today.
About the author
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall is a longtime journalist, freelance writer, and founding editor of two popular parenting websites in North Carolina. She frequently writes about parenting, aging, education, business management, and interesting people doing remarkable things.