Hala Taha: Leveraging LinkedIn for Career and Business Success | How to Money

Hala Taha: Leveraging LinkedIn for Career and Business Success | How to Money

Hala Taha: Leveraging LinkedIn for Career and Business Success | How to Money

By the time Hala Taha left her corporate job, her side hustle was making well over $100,000 monthly. Dubbed the ‘Podcast Princess’, her social media and podcast empire is on track to make $10 million next year. What does she attribute her rapid growth to? LinkedIn. In this episode of the How to Money Podcast, Hala talks to Joel Larsgaard and Matt Altmix about leveraging LinkedIn to grow her business. She also shares her top tips for growing on the platform.

Joel Larsgaard is a former senior radio producer on the nationally syndicated Clark Howard Show. In pursuit of his dream to achieve financial freedom, he started working young and now manages a modest real estate portfolio.

Matt Altmix is a former wedding photographer and business owner. Before switching to photography, he worked in the advertising space as a designer. Matt also manages several investment properties.


In this episode, Hala, Joel, and Matt will discuss:

– What Hala likes to splurge on

– Her early career in radio

– Why she decided to focus on LinkedIn

– Smart keyword usage on LinkedIn

– Hala’s favorite lessons from her dad

– Features to focus on for LinkedIn growth

– The ‘broetry’ style of writing LinkedIn posts

– The LinkedIn strategies that grew Hala’s podcast

– How she dropped out of school to work for free

– The strategy that blew up her podcast audience

– Hala’s journey from corporate to entrepreneurship

– Running her business on a team of volunteering super fans

– And other topics…


Joel Larsgaard is a former senior radio producer on the nationally syndicated Clark Howard Show. He started working young, first mowing lawns, then doing a three-hour shift at the Chick-fil-A across from his high school. He made only $24,000 a year at his first job in radio but saved up 20% to put down on his first house. In pursuit of his dream of achieving financial freedom, he became a part-time landlord with a modest real estate portfolio of seven properties in Atlanta.


Matt Altmix is a former wedding photographer turned full-time podcast host. Before switching to photography, he worked in the advertising space as a designer. While in school, he and his wife shared dreams of starting their own businesses. After they got married, they started Altmix Photography, running it together until Matt decided to focus on podcasting full-time. Matt also manages several investment properties.


Connect with Joel & Matt:


How to Money Website: https://www.howtomoney.com/

How to Money Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowToMoneyPod


LinkedIn Secrets Masterclass, Have Job Security For Life:

Use code ‘podcast’ for 30% off at yapmedia.io/course


Sponsored By:

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Indeed – Get a $75 job credit at indeed.com/profiting

Kajabi – Get a free 30-day trial to start your business at Kajabi.com/PROFITING

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions – Get a $100 credit on your next campaign at LinkedIn.com/YAP

Yahoo Finance – For comprehensive financial news and analysis, visit YahooFinance.com


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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: What's up, young improfiters. Welcome back to the show. And today we are replaying my guest appearance on the How To Money podcast, which is hosted by Joel Lansgaard and Matt Altmix. They're two best friends who love to talk about personal finance over a good craft beer. They're really fun, and we had a fun conversation.

And I actually interviewed Joel and Matt on my podcast in episode 282, where we talked about spending triggers, impulse buying, and personal finance hacks for millennials. So if you want a fun and easy way to digest your personal finance content, go check out episode number 282. So I decided to replay my episode on the How to Money podcast because Joel and Matt did a great job asking me about my podcast journey and how LinkedIn changed my life.

If you're new to the app, you probably don't know that I teach the number one LinkedIn masterclass. But I decided that I'm going to take a break from teaching the course this summer. I'm going to wait until September to launch the next one. So we've got quite a while till I'm going to be formally teaching another LinkedIn class.

But, I'm always going on podcasts and talking about LinkedIn. I went on Amy Porterfield's Online Marketing Made Easy, Jenna Kutcher's Gold Digger podcast, I went on the How to Money podcast that we're replaying today. I'm always giving free tips on LinkedIn on other people's podcasts. And everybody asks me different things, so you can get a lot of free content and training that way.

So, like I mentioned, Joel and Matt did a great job. They asked me about what kind of posts do well on the platform, why we should bother with LinkedIn at all. And I thought it'd be a good one to replay to hold you guys over until September. So if you're interested in LinkedIn, this episode is definitely for you.

Without further delay, here's my interview on LinkedIn with the HowToMoneyBoys.


[00:02:00] Matt Altmix: the first question we got to ask everybody who comes on the podcast is what are they like to splurge on?

[00:02:04] Joel Larsgaard: Cause Matt and I, we splurge on craft beer. We're drinking a good one right now. And, uh, and sometimes craft beer costs, you know, a pretty penny. What's the thing that you spend more money than some people think is sane on while you're doing the right thing and you're, you're saving and investing for your future.

[00:02:19] Hala Taha: It's definitely splurging on beauty expenses. I am dropping a lot of cash at Sephora every single month. I am getting facials. I'm getting my eyelashes done every week, my nails done. And honestly, part of my brand is to look young and I feel my comp most confident when I feel my most beautiful and I feel like it just helps me be, um, A better, more productive person when I take care of myself.

So that also includes a gym membership I pay for, and Oh yeah, I'm all about that. Yeah, just taking care of myself. 

[00:02:52] Joel Larsgaard: I love it. Okay, so does that, that technically means that these are business expenses. 

[00:02:56] Matt Altmix: That's right. Right? 

[00:02:57] Hala Taha: Yeah. I do get to expense some. Some of it's going on my business card, for sure. 

[00:03:01] Joel Larsgaard: Ha ha ha.

[00:03:03] Matt Altmix: Yeah, it doesn't mean it's free right, but it is at least helpful. So yeah, you say some taxation on that stuff. 

[00:03:09] Joel Larsgaard: I love it Okay, holla. So you said that you've had an entrepreneurial spirit ever since you were a little kid I think since you were four years old, where did that come from? And I mean, I guess specifically, I want to know if it was nurture, if it was a part of your family culture, or if it was more just sort of nature, if it's just who you are.

[00:03:28] Hala Taha: I think it was certainly nature. I mean, I came from a family of doctors, primarily, and a family of immigrants where they really thought that the only path to success was to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, go to college, and get a degree, take a test, and then like go on this like set track. And in fact, I was like the black sheep of my family because I was not going on that track.

And I'm literally the only one out of My four siblings who did not become a doctor and I had cousins who lived down the street three of them were basically like my siblings They all became doctors. So literally the only one in my immediate family out of the quote unquote kids that didn't become a doctor 

[00:04:12] Matt Altmix: You're not alone in that right?

There's a lot of immigrants who have a similar sort of story And we brought Jaspreet Singh on the podcast a long time ago. I'm at from minority mindset He said the same thing like if he he's been You And yet, you know, his parents were like, you're not a doctor or a lawyer, so it doesn't matter. So how has your family responded, Hala, to you?

You said you're the black sheep, but, uh, seeing all the success you've had and the ways you've been able to kind of like, I don't know, create a pretty, like almost like an immediate empire. How, how does your family think about you now that you're not a doctor or a lawyer, but you're still successful? 

[00:04:43] Hala Taha: No, they, they, they're asking me, can we sleep on your couch?

You know? So no, I'm like by far the most successful one in my family now. So. Um, it all worked out, but it did take, it was really hard in those years when nobody believed in me, you know, there was probably like five, six years where everybody, even though I was doing such cool things on the internet, nobody understood it.

And I was really looked down and like, I would go to the Thanksgiving and I feel like people were really condescending to me and didn't understand what I did. And it was really only until like, I really just had something to show for myself. That they started being proud of me and like accepting what I was doing.

[00:05:24] Matt Altmix: Why'd you keep doing it? And was there any point you wanted to quit? When you were kind of confronted with other people's disbelief along the way? I did quit. 

[00:05:31] Joel Larsgaard: Especially your family. 

[00:05:32] Hala Taha: I did quit. I actually started my career on this journey in broadcasting when I was, you know, 19 years old. I quit college to take an internship at Hot 97 and become Angie Martinez's assistant for three years and I didn't get paid a cent.

I made money like hosting hip hop showcases at night and I'd have all these like outside online radio shows on the side to like hone my broadcasting And then I started a blog for three years that became super popular and I almost got a show on MTV and that didn't work out. And so I had a bunch of failures in a row, not getting a job at radio that I worked really hard for and worked for free for three years and then ended up getting fired from my internship.

Then I, you know, almost got a show on MTV with this blog that I basically, you know, again worked for free for three years, just building this brand, hosting parties and doing all these like odd jobs to make it work. And then MTV dropped me. And then I did quit. I literally was like, okay, I got to be a normal person.

I got to go maybe get my MBA, do something different and just get a regular job. And for four years before I started young and profiting podcasts, I literally just had a normal corporate job. And I thought I'd never get back on the mic. 

[00:06:44] Matt Altmix: You seem to have like a drive, like you're tenacious. And like, honestly, I'm curious to hear your take specifically on immigrants and specifically, I guess, second generation immigrants in America is, it seems like that they embrace and live out the American dream.

I think more than almost any other segment in society. Do you think that's the case? And 

[00:07:04] Hala Taha: yeah, like I find purpose in work. And I do find a lot of people who are like American American. They don't. They have more of a sense of entitlement about their work. And for me, you know, my, my, I'm Palestinian American.

So really crazy time to be 100 percent Palestinian. So it's been a crazy time. And, but I, I, my dad basically grew up in poverty, grew up in a war. Um, Ended up becoming a doctor, ended up becoming a surgeon in America, opened up a medical center, and he had, like, enormous drive, and literally came from nothing, had no electricity, had, like, no running water, like, literally came from nothing.

So, for me, it's just, like, you know, I wasn't really spoiled growing up, because my parents, you know, So they didn't understand like luxury and like that and they've donated a lot of their money So like I wasn't spoiled at all, even though we did my family did really well But I saw like that anything was possible that you could literally create a lot from nothing and for me It's just like well I basically had a silver spoon in my mouth and what's my excuse?

So how, how am I going to make a big impact? And really what drives me is that there's really not a lot, a lot of other girls that look like me that are in my position. So now what drives me now is the fact that all these brown girls keep messaging me like, Oh, like, because of you, I feel like I can be an entrepreneur because of you, you've inspired me and I need to fill that gap because there's, Maybe there's like five other women that I can think of that are in my position right now as a brown person Woman in America. 

[00:08:34] Matt Altmix: You mentioned your dad. It certainly sounds like he's had an impact on you, too and is that maybe where you you think your work ethic came from and your dedication is Seeing him come from nothing. We talk about like self made in America Like there's the myth of the self made man or something like that And it's it's it's a lot easier to become quote unquote self made Starting out on kind of the third base of being in a in a really rich culture like we live in versus Actually kind of self made man.

Like it sounds like your dad was coming rising out of nothing Yeah, what sort of influence did he have on you? 

[00:09:09] Hala Taha: Oh, he was the best. So my dad actually passed away during COVID and that was so tough on me because he was just like the best human in the world. And I think what my dad taught me was generosity because he got so successful and he never stopped shopping at Sears.

He like was just really humble and he, he really made it his life's purpose to help everybody around him. So he cared more about like his employees getting paid. I remember like, If I had like a friend that wasn't doing well, he used to give my friends money when we'd go to the mall and not even tell me.

And they told me years later, like, hey, your dad used to give me money when we went to the mall. Like, you know? And like, he was just like so, such a nice, generous guy. He put all my nieces and nephews through college in Palestine and like pulled my whole family out of poverty. So, he taught me generosity.

And even now, like, I'm just like such a generous person like anybody who knows me personally like I'm always trying to help my employees like My goal of building my company as big as possible is actually not I don't really care about money Like in fact, I invest almost everything I make back into my company because I just want to make an impact I just want to help people.

I want to inspire people to live their most fulfilled purposeful lives And we need powerful people who have money to help improve our world. And like, that's my, that's my drive is like, I just want to make the world a better place. 

[00:10:31] Joel Larsgaard: Okay, so you quickly ran through your early career. And you kind of went through like the blog and then, you know, Possibly the reality show taking off at your podcast.

It seemed like that basically started out as a side hustle. I think at the time you're working in marketing at Disney, I guess what was the spark that made you want to actually start your own thing? Was it that desire to have an impact on the world or were you fed up with more of the corporate nine to five type of job?

[00:10:56] Hala Taha: Honestly, like everything that I've ever done that amounted to anything was always like Revenge, you know So it's like I didn't I was like working at Hewlett Packard and I was doing great and I actually thought that I was gonna be so far behind in corporate because When I started my corporate career, I was already like 28 years old And I literally had never had a real job.

My resume looked crazy. Like I was interning at a radio station and I was blogging for a hip hop website called the Sorority of Hip Hop. Like I had the craziest resume, but I was actually so talented. I was so tech savvy. I could hack any social platform. I could video edit. I had all these skills. 

[00:11:35] Matt Altmix: You have to be a jack of all trades to really like, you know, get all those things off the ground.

[00:11:38] Hala Taha: Exactly. So it's like I knew how to do so many things. So actually when I got into corporate, I was like skipping over people. Twice my age and I end my last job at Hewlett Packard, which was my first job. I was like the C suites pet, like doing all the QBRs and like really rose up the ranks. And at the same time, I was the same person.

I was the same holla interviewing the same people. CEO and CMO at the town hall and going, getting flown to all the events and, and on the mic. I was still like on the mic all the time, but just in my marketing corporate role. And I actually became like the face of the young employees at Hewlett Packard.

And I was president of this, uh, thing called the Young Employee Network. And I did that for two years and it was basically like a side hustle within my main job that I worked super hard on. And then I wanted to be the global young employee president. And I was on the global board and I had all the credentials.

And then they gave This lady who didn't like me gave it to somebody who literally had never been a part of the organization and they didn't even keep me on the board. And I was just like mortified because I was like, I just literally spent three years volunteering to become the president and everybody thought I was going to be the president.

And then I realized I was like, man, I did it again. Like, I did it at Hot 97, worked for free, not my own brand. I did it at, uh, you know, Strawberry Blonde, it was mine, but like, whatever. And then this thing, I was working for free and it didn't work out. And it was a gatekeeper that told me no. And I was like, I'm not doing this anymore.

If I'm going to build something from now on, it's going to be for myself. And so I decided I was going to start this podcast. If I couldn't lead the, you know, 7, 000 young employees at Hewlett Packard, then I'd go lead all the professionals, young professionals on LinkedIn. Hey, there's millions there, you know?

Yeah. And so I was like, all right, I'll just do the same thing I'm doing here, helping all these young people. Now I'll just. do it for the public and make my own thing. So young and profiting was probably inspired by the young employee network looking back and I started this podcast and I started posting on LinkedIn and then I became really quickly an influencer on LinkedIn.

And then shortly after my podcast started getting some traction. 

[00:13:46] Matt Altmix: We have a lot of questions about LinkedIn that we're going to get to in a little bit, but. How long before you ended up making money and it's like talking, hearing your story, a lot of years, you're working your butt off, you're not really making much, if anything, how long would you tell someone to keep at it before they decide to throw in the towel?

When do you know that your idea is a failure or how do you know if it just needs more time? 

[00:14:06] Hala Taha: It's so, this is such a great question because I feel like I'm so happy I quit so many things when I decided to quit. Like I had to quit my job at one point to take my podcast to the next level. I had to actually shut down my blog in order to, to take on my corporate career.

So I've had lots of points in my life where I had to quit and it made a lot of people upset. But you've got to look at yourself, right? And what's the best thing for yourself and your future. So for example, with this blog, we were doing it for three years. We hadn't really figured out how to monetize the blog that well we were hosting parties But it was like three years of like scraping by and I was like, I just can't see Us getting out of this like the only thing we had was this tv show that could have given us some notoriety Then we didn't get that and I was like, you know what screw it I could keep at this for another three years or I can You know for me I had to Find a way to sustain myself and that was corporate.

That was an easy like, okay, I'm going to get a nine to five job. It's not exactly what I want, but this is what I need. I need to be able to afford my rent, afford my car and, and build some wealth because I did experiment for a while and it was great and fun, but It wasn't sustainable. And so I actually had to do something I did not want to do in order to build a foundation.

And then when I worked into corporate, I quickly got to six figures like so quickly. And then I had a foundation finally. And that's when I started my side hustle. Um, and actually. I was very scarred for having a failed entrepreneurship experience early on, that it took me a really long time to actually quit my job and become an entrepreneur, even though I was making like so much money and having so much success, I was scared to quit my job.

[00:15:51] Matt Altmix: Yeah, those were overlapping for a decent chunk of time, right? 

[00:15:54] Hala Taha: It was. Yeah. 

[00:15:55] Joel Larsgaard: Okay. So what was it then that allowed you to quit? Like, was it a certain dollar amount? Was it a psychological state that you, Arrived in like when did you decide to take the leap and transition to yap full time because it like it even sounds like you had Like a massive business with like I think I read it right you had over 30 employees by the time 

[00:16:12] Hala Taha: Yeah, really quit.

[00:16:13] Joel Larsgaard: Oh my god. 

[00:16:13] Hala Taha: I really waited a long time. My second client was paying us 30, 000 a month That was my second client and then I and then I got like two other clients that size. So by the time I quit Disney. I had 30 employees around the world and we were making well over 100, 000 a month in the side hustle.

[00:16:33] Joel Larsgaard: That's a nice side gig. 

[00:16:34] Hala Taha: I wasn't even monetizing my podcast yet. I was just all the podcast guests that would come on my show, they kept asking me for services. And then I just, I had a volunteer team. So I offered them, uh, I turned my volunteer team. This is actually pretty interesting. So I'll step back.

When I started my podcast, Six years ago I started on LinkedIn and I used to have super fans that would reach out to me And they'd be like Holly changed my life Like I've never heard like I never like even listen to podcasts before and now I've done XYZ like how can I help you? How can I make this bigger?

I want to learn from you And again, I was this jack of all trades. I could write, I could hack social media, I could create websites, graphic design, video editing. I knew how to do all the steps. And so I would just like start teaching people how to. I, I would just, I just started recruiting these volunteers and interns, actually fans who would reach out to me and I put them in a slack channel.

And for two years, this is how I was able to have a really big podcast for two years while working a very serious corporate job is because I had 20 volunteers who worked for free for me for two years. Super fans. Super fans. And they just wanted to learn from me. And then, um, Once COVID hit and I found myself with a little bit more time, I started to just pay attention to what everybody was asking me because I started to not feel happy at Disney.

I felt like, uh, HP saw me growing up and like I was like a rock star at HP and really respected. When I went to Disney, I was treated like an intern, and I just felt like I didn't have any respect. I felt like I was starting from scratch again. And I was like, you know what?

I need to just go out on my own because I know my own worth and Disney does not value me. And so I started paying attention to what my audience was asking me, and it was the guests who came on my show at the end of the Every, almost every time they'd be like, how did you grow your LinkedIn? How'd you grow your podcast?

Can you do this for me? And then finally, one day, uh, Heather Monahan, uh, who was my first client and still my client, she's a huge LinkedIn influencer. She wouldn't leave me alone. She was like, uh, your videos are so awesome. Like you have to do your, my videos. And then I told her like, Hey, like, I don't have time, you know, I've got this like really stressful job, but I can train you on the weekends.

I told her I'll train her on the weekends. And so we started having these like Saturday sessions where I was trying to teach her how to video edit and she's like, Hala, like, I'm not going to learn how to do this. She's like, I just had a call with Gary V's team, VaynerMedia, I can pay them or I can pay you.

Like, you've got a company, you just showed me your Slack, you have the team, like, I don't understand. I'll be your first client. You don't even like your job at Disney. She was like starting to become my mentor. She was like, just do it. And I was like, okay. So she was my first client and she paid us like nothing.

And then like I said, my second client was a billionaire and I landed like a 30, 000 monthly retainer with him for like LinkedIn and podcast production. And yeah. Then I was able to start hiring my volunteers and paying them and start hiring more people. And then before I knew it, six months later, 30 employees around the world, uh, like super high level clients making over a hundred K a month found out I was going to be on the cover of podcast magazine.

And that's it. I was like, well, I mean, I probably made it if I'm getting on the cover of podcast magazine. I should probably quit my job now.

 I love it. Your story so inspiring and I think there's a lot we can learn just from you telling it. But then there's a lot of specifics we need to get into as well.

[00:20:04] Matt Altmix: The jack of all trades, I referred to. 

I'm curious, you quickly glossed over the fact that you, that you went back to get your MBA. So if I heard you right, you dropped out of school to take that initial radio internship, but then somehow you ended up with your MBA.

How did all that come together?

[00:20:20] Hala Taha: I have to say my college career is a hot mess. So I got to college and I went to a very nerdy tech school and I was like But, you know, it was a new feeling for me because in high school, like when, when I was in high school, 9 11 happened and I'm Arabic and it was like really weird.

Like, like the teachers were weird to me. Like, I never really got opportunities. Like, I try out all kinds of things. I tried out for the cheerleading team, I didn't make it. I tried out for the volleyball team, I didn't make it. I, I used to be the lead in all my school plays in middle school. And, and, uh, high school, they wouldn't even let me in the talent show.

And I literally had the best voice in school, but my hands down, it was really like a, like, they were really racist. Like I was one of the only brown people in school. It was like, totally like a really white. town. And so when I got to college, I went to a really diverse college and then suddenly it was like an equal playing field.

And I just was like overwhelmed with wanting to do every activity. So I was like in the radio club. I was captain of the cheerleading team. I was in my, like on the board of my sorority. I, I did everything but go to class, literally did not go to class. I never went to class and, uh, I did really well working, but I wasn't good at being a student.

I was like obsessed with this job at Hot 97 and this internship and I became like super obsessed with it. They asked me to start coming in every day. Uh, the way that it works in radio is you basically just pay your dues for many years, uh, at least at Hot 97. And it's essentially an illegal internship, right?

So they just kept, Angie was like, can you come here every day? And I was like, sure. And then I just dropped out of school. And I was, um, already, I was doing really bad in school anyway. So I felt like, okay, I'm I'm failing out of school anyway. I think I had like a two points. I had the worst GPA, like a two point something GPA.

Like I was a hot mess, but I was doing amazing at Hot 97. And actually I've sang my whole life, like I was saying. So I thought that I was going to be at Hot 97 and I was pushing my music. I was singing and songwriting and I was pushing my music on the DJs. And I. I thought that I was taking that internship to become a singer and make it, but then I fell in love with broadcasting and I wanted to be like the next Angie Martinez and they had me doing commercials and then that's, that's how I became like this love of being what I do today.


[00:22:42] Matt Altmix: You, you and Joel both with the, uh, the love of broadcast, 

[00:22:45] Joel Larsgaard: the radio background. I used to fall asleep listening to talk radio, which is the weirdest thing. Like everyone thinks that I'm psychotic because of that, but I would, I would fall asleep listening to. Yeah. To boring AM talk radio. I just loved it.

And I loved that kind of medium of communication, long form audio. It just has a power to it that television doesn't even have. So uh, yeah, I get it. I get it. And there is a bond, a connection you can have with your audience. I think when they hear you in their ear holes for like three hours a week, uh, or, or, you know, a lot of our listeners, it's like one episode out of three or whatever, but however much you listen to, you get to know us, um, because you, you can't help but get to know that person, which I think is, yeah, beautiful about.

[00:23:22] Hala Taha: Totally. Totally. 

[00:23:23] Joel Larsgaard: Audio. 

[00:23:23] Hala Taha: And then just like back to your original question and I'll be really fast. I know this was like a long winded answer But I ended up getting fired from hot 97. So imagine getting fired from a free internship And I was like the queen of the interns. I 

[00:23:38] Matt Altmix: please leave 

[00:23:39] Hala Taha: they obviously they obviously Valued me, but what happened was is that a paid job opened up and I basically texted my friend Who got the job and I was supposed to train him You Even though I was working for free they wanted me to go into work and train the person who they're gonna pay To do the job that I was already doing for free.

[00:23:59] Joel Larsgaard: It's pretty cold. 

[00:24:00] Matt Altmix: Yeah, 

[00:24:00] Joel Larsgaard: that's cold 

[00:24:01] Hala Taha: Yeah, and so then I was like, sorry guys. I don't I was like his name was Drew ski Sorry, Drew ski if you want to learn how to be the producer learn it on your own I'm not going to work and you cut off my key cards. She also didn't Like, uh, it was really cruel. She didn't let me say bye to anyone.

She told everybody they can't talk to me anymore. These were all my best friends, my mentors. I literally dropped out of school for them. And so it was devastating. And I just remember feeling like a part of me died because I had branded myself as Hala from Hot 97. This is what everybody knew me as. All my social handles were Hala from Hot 97.

And it literally felt like somebody died. But then I quickly thought of this other idea to start this blog. And at that point, I went back to school and I was a totally different person. I was a completely different person. All of a sudden I was getting straight A's. Um, I graduated my senior year straight A's.

Now to get into my MBA, my GPA was still super low. It's so terrible. I actually had to convince our director of graduate studies to allow me in the program. I, I lobbied myself and I would write her emails and then finally she agreed to have coffee with me and then I told her my story and she was impressed and she was like, okay, I'll let you in the program.

She's like, especially if you can maintain a 4. 0 and I was like, all right, I'll do it. I promise I'll get a 4. 0. I got a 4. 0 and I graduated number one in my class and that's how I got into corporate, so. 

[00:25:25] Matt Altmix: Nice. 

[00:25:26] Joel Larsgaard: Okay, this, this shows so much persistence and hustle and grind and I guess I'm curious because there's been a lot of kind of poo pooing on hustle culture, you know, and, and there, to a certain extent, I don't know.

I totally see where that comes from, that it's possible to overdo it, right? And a lot of people are tired of hearing the hustle culture pitch. You were, you know, grinding in all these side hustles, you were working without pay, and then you were also, like, look what you did to get your MBA, I mean, it's so impressive.

What's your take on hustle culture? Is it overdone? Is it underdone? Like, have we kind of missed the sweet spot? 

[00:26:00] Hala Taha: I think there has to be a point in your life where you are hustling. And, uh, for me, and even in your 20s, and Gary Vee says this all the time, like, you can hustle and make no money. But, for example, like, my company's on track to make 10 million dollars next year.

And, that would not be possible had I not worked for free in my 20s, and learned all the skills that I did had I not worked in the mall, and learned all the skills that I did. Like, so, uh, For me, it's like there's a like you need to hustle because you need to get the skills And that's the thing that I feel like is missing from all these young people They're not taking the time to get the skills They want all the shortcuts, but you build the character and the intent and the skills and the expertise Through all the grunt work that you do.

And so for me, it was like I'm so thankful for all those experiences, even though they didn't pan out to anything because that's how I'm making millions today. It's from all the hard work that I did years ago and didn't get paid for. 

[00:27:05] Matt Altmix: That makes sense. I hadn't, you know, it's funny cause I feel like the hustle culture grinding it out.

That was, I feel like it really got big five, six, seven years ago and everyone was picking up side gigs. They're side hustling and it's, I feel like it's almost. to a certain extent because folks are like, who wants to do that? You know, folks are quiet quitting now, but I hadn't thought about it from the standpoint that you are, which almost is more from like a social, uh, cultural side of things.

Like, and even us, me as an adult, like our patience is not what it used to be. The immediate gratification that we can receive by how responsive an app is on our phone. Uh, the ability to post something and immediately see a like. that isn't good for our psyches, right? It erodes our ability to persevere, I think.

And I think that's one of the downsides of technology specifically, but I had not thought about side hustling as just a means of formation and the ability for youth, especially to I guess to be able to learn from that. 

[00:28:05] Joel Larsgaard: It's almost like you're a Swiss, Swiss army knife of a human being too. Cause it's all these like disparate skills that you pick up along the way.

And you're like, well, this one in and of itself, isn't terribly valuable, but when it's combined with these other four things, it makes me like superhuman. Now I can run a podcast network. I mean, and, and I think that's what we fail to maybe see in the moment. Sometimes is that each one of those skills as we're acquiring them.

Is going to lead to something bigger and brighter, even if it's not like the one thing we're going to coast on for the rest of our lives. 

[00:28:30] Matt Altmix: I will say, so the difference that as well between the side gig apps and what it is that Hala is doing is that she's like, you were pursuing things that were incredibly meaningful to you that were that would hopefully lead to something bigger.

You weren't just trading your time for money. 

[00:28:44] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah. 

[00:28:44] Hala Taha: And there's so many things that I want to say. One thing related to what you guys said is like, uh, this is something that Jason Pfeiffer taught me. And looking back at my story, I always did this. You have an opportunity set A and an opportunity set B in everything that you do.

So for example, when I worked at Hewlett Packard, my opportunity set A was the job they paid me for. Opportunity set B was all the other stuff that I was doing. I was, uh, president of the Young Employee Network, planning the holiday party, planning the summer picnic, uh, going to all these other events. When I worked at Hot 97, my opportunity set A was being Angie Martinez's intern.

But on the side, I had online radio shows, I was blogging for DJ Enough, I was hosting showcases at night. So it's like I always, I Looked at like, not only the opportunity that they're paying me for, but what are the opportunities to learn and grow, you know? 

[00:29:40] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah, you probably don't get the opportunity to do some of those radio shows without being the intern, right?

Like, that is the foot in the door to get the extra opportunity. And so, yeah, I did an unpaid internship in radio as well and some people would say, Hey, That's, uh, unconscionable to make somebody work free. But are you kidding me? Like it, it gave me the opportunity. I, I, in so many ways, it gave me the connections and the work experience.

And it was crucial to who I am now. Let's talk about marketing. 

[00:30:07] Hala Taha: Okay. 

[00:30:07] Joel Larsgaard: Your podcast is, is great. And. The product is, of course, crucial to success, but given the amount of noise in the podcasting space, like even a great podcast could wallow in obscurity, I think, a lot of times these days, just given how many there are.

Talk to us about the marketing piece of the puzzle and maybe then how we can extrapolate that to everyone else out there listening who doesn't have a podcast but has something marketable, whether it's themselves or a business they own. 

[00:30:33] Hala Taha: Yeah. So. So really it's all about like creative problem solving, right?

When I first started in podcasts for two years it was like very slow, steady growth because I just kept doing the same thing that everybody else was doing, like trying to rank on Apple. All I cared about was Apple, uh, because it had like 70 percent of the market share, maybe it was 60 percent of the market share and that's all I paid attention to.

And then I started. thinking about like, what are the other ways that I can be a successful podcaster? Like, does being a successful podcaster mean that I have to be the top of the charts on Apple or could it mean something else? And then I started realizing, well, there's 70 other apps out there. There's Spotify, there's Google play, there's CastBox, there's Play.

fm, there's all these other apps. What if I reached out to them? And see if they want to collaborate because I had grown a platform on LinkedIn. I had grown an audience on LinkedIn and I thought I can leverage LinkedIn in order to grow my podcast. And that's how you have to think. If you have any sort of business, you can trade. audiences with people. And the key to do that is to have one thing that you can leverage. And this is the mistake that people make. They go omni channel right away. And they're like, okay, I'm going to be on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, email list, da da da da. When I first started, all I cared about was LinkedIn.

I didn't even post on Instagram. I was like, I'm going to be the number one podcaster on LinkedIn. And I figured out how the algorithm worked. I figured out how the features worked. I figured out how to build a community proactively. And then all of a sudden I figured that out before podcasting even. And so suddenly I had some.

60, 000 followers. Now I have way more, but back then I had 60, 000. That was something that I could now trade. 

[00:32:25] Joel Larsgaard: Why'd you choose LinkedIn? Like for anybody who's out there listening and they're saying, I thought LinkedIn for what was like my dad's suit photo. 

[00:32:30] Matt Altmix: Old white guys. Yeah. 

[00:32:32] Joel Larsgaard: To why linked? It just seems so the hot places are Tik Don't you know that?

Like why LinkedIn? 

[00:32:38] Hala Taha: LinkedIn is so great. There's 135 million active users on LinkedIn and only 6 percent of them are Original content creators. So there's very little competition. There's lots of eyeballs on LinkedIn. It's also an amazing place to be an entrepreneur because people are primed for sales conversations.

It's a professional platform. People are actually using LinkedIn, LinkedIn in their research for their buying journeys. Um, and, uh, because it's branded as this professional network where people are going to learn and solve their problems, having a sales conversation is really welcomed on that platform where if you try to have a sales conversation on Instagram, it's a little weird because it's so personal, right?

Lincoln is a professional platform that does have a feed and is an online platform. Uh, has a social algorithm just like any other platform. So LinkedIn's absolutely amazing and it changed my life. Like, I'm so thankful that I started my journey on LinkedIn. And then the other reason was just, uh, pure luck.

I was shadow banned on Instagram for, because I'm Palestinian. They've been shadow banning Palestinians for, for years. 

[00:33:43] Matt Altmix: That's crazy. 

[00:33:52] Matt Altmix: Fascinating to hear so much. Adversity that you've faced. I mean, starting in basically high school for you, but I mean, I really do want to hear more about linked in those and specifically it makes so much sense.

Cause it's fertile ground for business transactions to take place.


You're talking about using LinkedIn to actually reach your audience. And for a lot of people, that's the toughest thing. And it feels like, especially social media, man, if you strike it, if you strike gold, You can hit the algorithm right and you'll be rewarded and you might help, they might help you find your audience.

But you're saying that LinkedIn was the place for that. How? Okay. Talk to me through some of the nitty gritty. What are you posting? How are you engaging? What does it look like for you to actually grow your podcast on LinkedIn? 

[00:34:34] Hala Taha: In terms of like right now, I mean, my strategies were really different, right?

So initially when I was trying to grow my podcast, what I did is I traded my audience. So what I did is I reached out to all the different podcast players out there, all the different, every single tool I use, my hosting provider, my like recording platform, Riverside that we're on right now. I literally reached out to every single podcast brand, player or not.

And I was like, Hey, I'm the biggest podcaster on LinkedIn. I'd love to write a post about you in exchange for you posting me on your website, featuring me in your app, putting out an email blast for me. That's when my podcast blew up because suddenly I was getting all this exposure outside of LinkedIn and I was trading my audience.

So that's the first way that I grew my podcast. Now, um, you know, the best way to grow anything, forget about a podcast. Let's just talk about any business and anything that anybody has. is to re target your content. Okay? So what does that mean? You put up a post and it's about your podcast, or you put up a live stream of your fully edited podcast, which is my favorite thing to do on LinkedIn.

Anybody who likes, comments, or shares is basically raising their hand and saying like, You've got permission to DM me. I took the first action. I took the first behavior here and you have permission to DM me. And no matter what you say, you're not going to be spammy or salesy because I took the first action.

So you would say something like, Hey, I noticed that you just engaged on my live stream. If you want to check out the full episode, here's the link would love to hear back from you. You know, then they write back something positive. Oh, thank you so much. Can you copy and paste that as an Apple podcast review?

Really appreciate it. So creating all these drip campaigns are called where you retarget your posts. So you could do this with anything. If you could put up a poll on LinkedIn and say, like, let's say, uh, you're a real estate agent. You could say, are you in the market for a new house? Yes or no? Anybody who says yes, you can say, Hey, I noticed that you engaged on my poll that you're looking for a new house.

I'd love to help you. Here's a free resource and you can drive them down your funnel. So retargeting your own post is a really great way to drive sales and momentum. And yeah, like I know everything about LinkedIn. So happy to talk about algorithms, engagement hacks, wherever you want to go. 

[00:36:52] Matt Altmix: I'm curious to know, do you think everybody, regardless of what they do, should everybody have a LinkedIn profile?

Cause I'll be honest. 

[00:37:00] Joel Larsgaard: And presents, right? 

[00:37:01] Matt Altmix: I don't, I'm not up there at all. 

[00:37:04] Joel Larsgaard: You've never even created one? 

[00:37:05] Matt Altmix: I think I've created a profile, but I cannot remember the last time I've logged in there. 

[00:37:09] Joel Larsgaard: I've created one, but I don't think I've ever posted. 

[00:37:10] Matt Altmix: Go ahead and rig me over the coals. 

[00:37:12] Hala Taha: Yeah, I mean, if you're not going to bother posting or taking care of it, don't bother at all.

You know, like, you're not going to get any traction if you're not going to invest the time. So I would say, like, until you're ready to start posting at least three times a week, I wouldn't even bother because you're just not going to get anywhere. 

[00:37:29] Matt Altmix: So you need to post regularly. What else do you need to do to drive engagement if you're looking to kind of, yeah, grow your presence, grow your reach there.

[00:37:36] Hala Taha: Okay. So a couple things. Let's talk about, uh, utilizing the features. So every social media platform has different features that they're prioritizing. Okay. So on LinkedIn, it's actually not a video first platform. It's not trying to compete with. Instagram, and TikTok. And so video content actually performs pretty poorly on that platform.

So the assets that do perform well are typically pictures with like some sort of story that goes along with it. A quote card that's like a really easy to read skimmable quote. Okay. Live streams work well on LinkedIn. Okay. So it's understanding the features that work for every single platform. That's super key.

Uh, the other thing to think about is people are on their phone. Okay. So when it comes to your assets, video or graphic, you want to make them vertical and take up as much real estate as possible. possible so that when people are scrolling in their feed, they're scrolling through about nine posts, that you're actually taking up a lot of, uh, real estate on the feed.

[00:38:42] Matt Altmix: Yeah, you want to crowd everybody else out. 

[00:38:43] Hala Taha: Exactly. So it's going to draw more attention. People have more to look at. You actually get ranked based on how much time people spend on your post. So it's like they have more to look at. So it's really important to do that. The other thing is, uh, you know, being skimmable.

Okay. If you look on LinkedIn, you'll see a lot of the influencers are doing this like line by line copywriting. It's called broetry. And um, that's actually on purpose. LinkedIn's algorithm is actually scanning for formatting. And if you have big chunky paragraphs that are really hard to read, nobody wants to do work on social media.

That's like being the boring person who's lecturing at a party. Right. So being skimmable, right, is really important. And the last step that I'll give is that keywords are becoming increasingly important. So LinkedIn's moving away from just basing things on engagement. So in the past, anything motivational, inspirational would go like skyrocket on LinkedIn.

Like you could be like, you know, sky's the limit and get a million likes, you know, like it was just like anything motivational did amazing. Right. And now it's all about. Experts and interest relevancy. So they're basically doing a lot of keyword matching. So you've got to have more SEO. 

[00:40:00] Matt Altmix: Like it's more SEO.

It's like, it almost sounds like it's turning into Google. 

[00:40:02] Hala Taha: Exactly. So it's like, you need to infuse your profile with keywords that might be found in your target audience's profile. And then you need to infuse those keywords in your actual posts. And then LinkedIn is doing a better job of matching people who want similar content with your content.

Especially if you're, uh, Somebody that they've identified as an expert in the topic that you're talking about so you might have that like linkedin top voice badge Or even if like your past job history has the same keywords or you've been like recommended for skills in that area They'll identify you as an expert and start serving your content to people who want it.

So keywords are becoming increasingly important. 

[00:40:43] Matt Altmix: Very cool. Specifically, you're talking to content creators, folks who, who might be trying to gather together an audience, do these same tactics and utilizing some of these same features. Does that also work for someone who's basically looking for just a great paying job with a like more of a corporate gig?

Does that, does that also translate? 

[00:41:01] Hala Taha: Yeah. So a lot of the people that I work with, I have a LinkedIn masterclass and most of them are entrepreneurs, um, coaches, uh, they've got some sort of small business, but then I do have a lot of corporate professionals. And what happens is that it gives you more stability in the corporate world.

I even started my, my, my journey on LinkedIn in the corporate world. And I remember immediately that like I started getting more opportunities, more exposure. I was getting noticed. by higher ups and even somebody today I have a mastermind, uh, her name's Anita. She was telling me that she, in her job, that like everyone now is taking notice and asking her about LinkedIn and she's getting more visibility from higher ups because of everything that she's doing on LinkedIn.

So a lot of people get scared of using their LinkedIn for their own personal benefit, but But that is a transferable asset. You've got to think that if you're in corporate, you might want to switch jobs one day. You might want to start your own thing. This is your way to start building that foundation while you have the stability of a full time job.

So I always encourage people to start building their personal brand. You need that more than ever now. Even when people are looking to give you a job, they want to see you having some sort of personal brand and presence. So I think it's a win win for everybody. 

[00:42:18] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah, taking some time to be regular, to kind of become a thought leader in your industry.

It's only going to be good for you. It's only going to bring you connections and, and potentially job offers as well. Question for you, when, when you're posting on somebody else's site, especially one of these tech companies and the algorithm determines what everyone's going to see. You're, you're alluding to it.

That can change, right? And so it, it favors one thing over another at different times and it can diminish your voice too. And it can really, after you've spent years building something, it can kind of pull the rug out from under you. I was talking to someone the other day and they built up a pretty substantial Twitter following and then boom, Twitter changes the algorithm and it feels like their post is, is yelling into the void.

So how do you think about, and I think that's why people have prioritized Newsletters, because it's this direct connection to your audience, 

[00:43:02] Matt Altmix: full control. 

[00:43:03] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah. Nobody can really take away. So how do you think about building and spending so much time creating on a platform that you don't have as much control of?

[00:43:10] Hala Taha: I am a really big advocate of email lists.

So I've been like driving all of my following to webinars, uh, where I'm collecting everybody's email and like rapidly growing my email list because it's true, these, uh, platforms can change. They can also decide to specifically target you based on your beliefs, which is really crazy. Like one day we're going to look back and.

And we're gonna, we won't be able to believe that all of this was legal, to be honest. It is really, really messed up what they're doing to people based on, uh, beliefs, which is like totally unfair, I think. 

[00:43:48] Matt Altmix: It's amazing how a few people working at a tech company can have such a domino effect on all the rest of us.

And we just think, oh, this is the way the technology operates. But no, there's human control and human input into how it operates. 

[00:43:59] Hala Taha: Exactly. But long story short, And this is actually going to be the topic of my first book is that algorithms always change, but human behavior doesn't. So algorithms change all the time, but a lot of the stuff that I teach in marketing in my, in my classes and stuff is human behavior because human behavior never changes and LinkedIn literally has a goal to make sure that like when something goes viral, they're actually studying it to find out how that happened so it doesn't happen again.

They don't want like. You know, just 1 percent of the creators having all the impressions. They want it to be more flat where it's just like experts delivering content to people who want it, right? So, they're actually not wanting people to go viral, but they can't control at the end of the day what makes people click the share button.

[00:44:49] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah. 

[00:44:49] Hala Taha: They can try all they want, but human behavior doesn't change. Right? So, it's just like understanding what are the things that I need to do that are evergreen. 

[00:44:58] Joel Larsgaard: Yeah. 

[00:44:58] Hala Taha: That no matter what platform I go on, it's gonna work because human psychology doesn't change. 

[00:45:03] Joel Larsgaard: I love that. 

[00:45:03] Matt Altmix: The things that serve and help people.

[00:45:05] Joel Larsgaard: Sounds like a promising book is what that sounds like. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So on your podcast, you always ask folks, what is the secret to profiting in life? So we're going to actually turn the tables back on you a little bit. We're curious to hear your response. Uh, what is it that allows folks to profit the most of life?

[00:45:25] Hala Taha: What is the secret to profiting in life? I think I'm going to tie it back to what we were talking about earlier. Um, and that's skills. I think the reason why I've been really successful. is because I fully absorb myself in whatever I'm doing. When I started a podcast, I didn't just learn how to be a good interviewer.

I didn't just learn how to put on, uh, the recording software and figure out the equipment. And I, I looked at everything. How can I grow? How can I monetize? How can I, you know, create a business out of this? I looked at every single nook and cranny. And figured it all out. And that's how I became successful.

I wasn't the best podcast host. I'm still not the best podcast host, but I'm literally like number 87 podcast in the world. Why? Because I just figured out I figured out what I am good at within the whole realm of podcasting. And I just milked every little inch that I could and figured it all out, you know?

So it's like, I meet a lot of podcasters now, for example, that like, don't know how to monetize or don't. And to me, it's like mind boggling how they didn't learn their entire industry, even if they're not the best at every single part. But like fully understanding the landscape of what they're trying to play in, right?

And I think a lot of that has to do with like absorbing yourself, not being afraid to learn, like uh, you know, being willing to roll up your sleeves and do the, the, the nitty gritty, like eventually you can outsource things, but you should know how to do everything yourself first, you know? So it's like learning the skills, really absorbing yourself, not being afraid to learn, and just again, like learning things A to Z and not trying to find shortcuts.

Uh, to your success. 

[00:47:14] Joel Larsgaard: That's great advice. Paula, so much for joining us today. Where can our listeners find out more about you and what you're up to? 

[00:47:20] Hala Taha: Thanks guys. I really had a great time. Uh, Young and Profiting is the name of my show. Uh, I interview the brightest minds in the world and it is a fantastic show.

You can listen, learn, and profit over there. You can also find out more about my company at yap. com. Media, that's yapmedia. io and there you can find out about my social agency, my podcast network, which is the number one business and self improvement podcast network. I've got podcasters like Jenna Kutcher, uh, John Lee Dumas, Amy Porterfield in my network.

So it's really growing fast. And then if you guys want to learn about LinkedIn, I have a two day workshop. You guys can actually use code, H T M for 35 percent off at yapmedia. io slash course. 

[00:48:03] Matt Altmix: That's right. And we'll make sure to link to all of that in our show notes. Uh, Hala, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.

[00:48:10] Hala Taha: Thank you guys so much. 

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