“Know your audience.” With Jason Hartman & Kiki Wong

I would want to inspire people to see how truly wonderful it is to not be shackled by addiction. The problem with addiction is that it is socially widely accepted. Life without addiction can be exciting, fun, exuberant, and full of more life you could ever imagine. I would want to give light to those […]

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I would want to inspire people to see how truly wonderful it is to not be shackled by addiction. The problem with addiction is that it is socially widely accepted. Life without addiction can be exciting, fun, exuberant, and full of more life you could ever imagine. I would want to give light to those who are struggling to know there is a great future waiting for them in sobriety and recovery.

As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a very successful podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kiki Wong: Co-Host of the podcast, “From Hell to Wellness”

Kiki is an internationally toured musician who has had experience playing on stage with acts like Taylor Swift, Usher, Bret Michaels, the Misfits, and more. After the guitars were set down to rest, she began writing about her travel experiences. She is the co-author of the best-selling book “30-Day Travel Challenge: How to Make Your Travel Dreams a Reality” and an avid travel writer. She is also a travel expert and TV personality on media outlets such as KTLA, CBS, NBC, and Fox News. Her and her former lead singer and now business partner, Kaila Yu, are also co-hosts of the podcast “From Hell to Wellness” where they discuss their journey from hard-partying rockstars into sobriety seeking wellness treatments across the globe. www.fromhelltowellness.com

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?

Ifirst moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in medicine. Just like any good “Asian” daughter, I had the choice to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, so I picked doctor since it sounded good on paper.

While I was going to school in Irvine, I started modeling on the side for extra cash. I ended up booking a gig for an awesome jewelry company called “Hello Drama”. I did the shoot and the owners of the company, who happened to be this super stylish and badass girl who ended up being Kaila (co-host) and Katt, asked if I play the guitar since my profile said I played metal guitar riffs and all that jazz.

Well a few years later, we found ourselves touring the country in a 7-seater van with 8 people playing shows at all kinds of venues from bars to big outdoor venues.

The Rockstar life came with a Rockstar price. We took “party like a rockstar” to the next level and found ourselves riddled with addiction and alcoholism.

Now, we are sober and travel the world seeking wellness destinations and share our wellness journey with audiences on the news, in our writing, and on our podcast, “From Hell to Wellness”.

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?

When we first came up with the idea of sharing our recovery journey through podcasting, we honestly had not the slightest clue how to start one. I had some pretty extensive experience on an audio recording from performing in a band for so many years, but we really didn’t know how to even put it out there.

However, we came across this phenomenal podcasting course called “Power Up Podcasting” that helped us get all of our bearings on getting our podcast out there. It was extremely helpful, and we can’t thank Pat Flynn enough for his tips.

Within our first week of launch, we already had a brand sponsorship, which was an awesome alcohol-free spirit company. We had a blast working with them, and it gave us the confidence to continue to pursue podcasting passionately.

Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

We’ve been podcasting since the beginning of December and have 19 Episodes aired.

What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?

Our goal is to help people who are either thinking about getting sober or who are going through their recovery journey.

We want them to be able to listen to our podcasts on their morning commute, at their homes, or whenever they have downtime and be inspired to continue on their journey. We want them to know it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to be emotional, and it’s ok to have crazy stories.

The journey through recovery it one of the most difficult situations people can face in their lives. We want them to feel comfortable in their own skin and know that we are here to support and help them discover new ways to live their life free of addiction.

In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?

Let’s face it, there are a TON of recovery podcasts out there. What makes us different is our friendship and the way we speak openly. This podcast has no filters. We tell it EXACTLY how it was, how it was recovering, and how it is now in a funny, truthful, and authentic way.

In each episode, we tell a new story about how we dealt with the struggles of daily life, funny and difficult. Because recovery can be a very lonely and difficult place, we do our best to give our listeners the support they need to not feel alone.

Doing something on a consistent basis is not easy. Podcasting every work-day, or even every week can be monotonous. What would you recommend to others about how to maintain discipline and consistency? What would you recommend to others about how to avoid burnout?

Podcasting is DIFFICULT. Let’s be real.

The trick is to record a bunch at one time. Find a day in the week where you can set a good 3 hours aside. Record 3–4 episodes back to back. I’m telling you this is the best way to stay on track without feeling like you’re overwhelmed.

Of course, if there’s something more time you want to address, hop on and record something new and use one of the pre-recorded episodes as a back-up.

What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?

Because we were in a band for so long, we have an endless library of stories to choose from. If you’re looking for inspiration, sometimes checking out your old Facebook photo albums can help spark an old story or memory that you can turn entirely into a new podcast episode.

Ok fantastic. Let’s now shift to the main questions of our discussion. Is there someone in the podcasting world who you think is a great model for how to run a really fantastic podcast?

Pat Flynn.

If you’re just starting out in the podcasting world and really have no idea how to even record, his “Power-Up Podcasting” course is absolutely worth the money. He walks you through step-by-step on how to create a podcast and get it out in the world.

We had less than a month to start our first podcast, and we were able to successfully execute it because of his course.

What are the ingredients that make that podcast so successful? If you could break that down into a blueprint, what would that blueprint look like?




Stories have shaped the way we think ever since we were small children. The best types of stories are relatable and authentic.

It is ingrained in every part of our being to recognize inauthentic content (like a defense mechanism in nature to protect ourselves from harm). Be YOURSELF! People can always recognize when you’re trying to be someone else.

The best way to be yourself? Personal stories.

Personal stories humanize the problems we are facing. In this case, recovery seems daunting and so distant especially if you are an alcoholic or addict. Sharing personal stories help making achieving our goals more plausible.

You are a very successful podcaster yourself. Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)

  1. Know Your Audience
  2. Niche Down
  3. Develop a strong marketing plan
  4. Collaborate
  5. Stick to it!

Know Your Audience:

It’s important to understand who will ACTUALLY listen to your podcast. Many times, specialists of any kind tend to have almost a biased perspective on their field because they have studied it so diligently for so many years.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their audience will have that same perspective. Test to see who will actually listen to your content. Maybe you’re an expert gardener and expectant mothers to listen but actually find that interior designers are listening more for landscaping advice.

Niche Down:

Once you find your target audience, narrow your topic down as much as you can. If you want to talk about gardening, it might be better to talk about urban gardening instead if you live in the city. Niching down can help you dominate an area that’s not covered as much rather than competing with the majority in your general field.

Develop a Strong Marketing Plan:

Marketing is everything. If you’re not a digital marketer, it’s ok. Take a course, call a friend, or study up online (even hire someone if you have the extra budget) to help. Don’t just put your podcast out there and expect people to listen.


The best way to double your listening audience is to collaborate. Whether you have guests on your podcast or decide to be a guest on someone else’s, it’s a great way to share content and listeners.

Stick to It!:

Consistency is key. It can be overwhelming, but if you put the right plan in place and stay consistent by breaking the work up, you’ll be on your way to a successful podcast launch.

Can you share some insight from your experience about the best ways to: 1) book great guests; 2) increase listeners; 3) produce it in a professional way; 4) encourage engagement; and 5) the best way to monetize it? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)

  1. Book Great guests
    The best way to book great guests is to ask ask ask! Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. What’s the worst they can say? No? Ask a friend who knows a friend. Reach out to people on DM’s. You’ll be surprised how many “famous” people will actually respond. The bigger then net you throw, the more fish you catch, so ASK AWAY!
  2. Increase Listeners
    One way we’ve helped increase listeners is to leverage social media. Not only do we create a podcast episode, we also create a video with our episode highlights (funniest parts and most attention grabbing content). Then, we blast it on social media. We do this EVERY time, so be sure to stick to it.
  3. Product in a professional way
    One of the best tools of all time for any entrepreneur is Fiverr.com. You’d be surprised to see how many great resources are on there for an affordable price. You can get someone to produce a fancy intro, edit your audio, and create your podcast graphics! The options are endless.
  4. Encourage Engagement
    We feature a top listener in our podcast and give our other listeners a bit of their backstory. This encourages people to continue to listen and interact.
  5. The Best way to Monetize

The best way to truly monetize is to build a strong email list and email marketing campaign. If you have loyal listeners, you will have loyal readers. Give them valuable content regularly through your mailing list and also figure out a way you can sell a product (course, book, etc.).

For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?

There are a few key pieces of equipment I would recommend for those of you who are just starting a podcast:

  1. Microphone

You’re going to need a good condenser microphone that will pick up sounds with decent quality. Don’t opt-in for something cheap. YOU WILL REGRET IT. I used pretty terrible mics in the beginning and it made a huge difference getting two of the same high-quality mics.

Here’s a great option for beginners that want an all in one package that comes with a stand, mic, and XLR converted USB input.

2. Microphone stand

If you didn’t get the all-in-one package or want to use separate equipment for your mics, a short microphone stand is great especially if you’re filming your videos to accompany your audio. I bought these since our podcast is hosted by two people.

3. Cables

If you plan on using higher quality audio recording, you’re going to need cables to fit your microphones into the audio box. Make sure to get a cable that’s long enough depending on where you plan to record your audio. If you’re recording right next to your computer, you won’t need super long cables, but it’s always good to get the extra length just in case.

4. Audio box

As someone who has done a good amount of professional audio recording, I wanted to have more recording capabilities and functions. This is an excellent recording box that you can use to get the professional sound you want. It does require a bit more setup, but it is worth it in the end.

5. Editing software

If you are a Mac user, GarageBand works perfectly well for recording your audio and it’s free with your computer. For those of you who are on PC, you can download Audacity for free. There’s a bit of a learning curve for the software, but it should only take a few days to get it down.

Ok. We are almost done. 🙂 Because of your position and work, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would want to inspire people to see how truly wonderful it is to not be shackled by addiction. The problem with addiction is that it is socially widely accepted. Life without addiction can be exciting, fun, exuberant, and full of more life you could ever imagine. I would want to give light to those who are struggling to know there is a great future waiting for them in sobriety and recovery.

How can our readers follow you online?

Check out our podcast website www.fromhelltowellness.com and on social media IG: @fromhelltowellness

Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.

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