Tell us a little bit about yourself.
First off, it’s such a pleasure being interviewed for your blog! I was raised in Toronto, Canada and I always loved being creative and when social media started to become more of a staple of connection, I started to think about all of the ways I could showcase my creative side. I initially started out as a blogger and photographer and though it was super enjoyable and aesthetic but I quickly found myself wanting to pursue a creative side hustle that was deeper than that, more influential and most importantly something that would help others on a global scale.
If your closest friend/family could describe you in 3 words what would those words be?
I think my family and friends would describe me as someone who is very determined, creative and ambitious. Whenever you begin a new project, actually starting and putting a plan into action can be overwhelming, but this has always been the most exciting part for me. I think once you take your first photo, write your first blog post, record your first podcast, despite how amateur and inexperienced you may feel, the end production of having created something is very rewarding to me. You won’t know where and how to improve until you first create and then analyze, so to anyone who is feeling nervous about getting started, my best advice would be to just take a leap of faith and start creating!
You are the host of a podcast called Hustle and Heart. How did the idea of starting a podcast came to be?
I finished 2 undergraduate degrees and a masters degree because societal I feel we’re very influenced to view higher education as being a token of success. Especially if you’re like me and grew up with very hard-working immigrant parents who sacrificed a lot to give you the opportunities they didn’t have back home, I definitely wanted to make sure I made them proud and went to university and established a solid career for myself. I had read a quote once on Twitter I believe from @Bosefina and it said “my parents were tasked with the job of survival and I with self-actualization. The immigrant generational gap is real. What a luxury it is to search for purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.” This quote was so impactful me to because it really made me realize what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to discover a line of work that we are truly passionate about and that gives us purpose, because this is a luxury that not everyone has. I think from the outside, people often see online how many projects or creative endeavors I’m working on, or what I’m up to as a lifestyle influencer and it may seem like a lot, but the main reason for that is because I do my best to practice gratitude and keep facts like these top of mind and it really gives me perspective and a zest for life, it’s a real blessing living in a time of so much opportunity. Life can always get overwhelming and has its challenges, but knowing that the life we want is what we make it is what really inspires me to do all that I do.
I feel like I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I have a love for business and technology and art and I would dabble in different side projects and endeavors throughout the years. I started to settle into my career in education but the lifelong learner in me has always been a fan of personal and professional development. I found myself listening to podcasts on my drives to and from work or at the gym and one day I just thought to myself, interviewing experts would be such a great way to get advice and continue working on myself and my goals.
When did you actually start making that idea a reality? (buying your equipment, taking notes on what you wanted your podcast to be)
Throughout the summer of 2019, I was listening to podcasts almost daily. Some of my favorites are “The Skinny Confidential Him and Her” with Michael Bosstick and Lauryn Evarts, Ben Greenfield Fitness, “The Model Health Show” with Shawn Model, “On Purpose” with Jay Shetty and the “School of Greatness” with Lewis Howes.
Once I had the idea to start my own, I started by doing some research. First, I started paying more attention to the intricacies of these podcasts, the music they used, the vulnerabilities the hosts and guests shared, their tone of voice, the guests they chose, the length of the episodes. I started to take notes about the aspects I liked best about each podcast so that I could learn ways to incorporate these tools into my own podcast.
I watched a ton of YouTube tutorials and read many different how-to blog posts that gave advice and the steps on how to get started. I realized it needed very limited equipment and that I could use software to record my initial podcasts that I developed. I admit, being a bit tech savvy does help, but in all honesty, if you’re interested in starting a podcast but nervous about the technological side of things, there’s isn’t anything you can’t learn online these days thanks to technology, so I really encourage you to try it out!
What genre/category would you consider your podcast to be and why did you choose that genre/category? Why did you choose Hustle and Heat as the name of your podcast?
Once I had all these technical details down, I began to brainstorm different names, ideas and the ‘why’ behind my podcast. I knew I wanted it to be focused on self and professional development, but knowing that these are two very niche fields and that I wanted more people to be able to listen and enjoy the podcast, I chose the top 4 categories that interest me and would be applicable to a larger audience. I then chose a podcast name that best reflected and encompassed these four areas, and so it came to be the “Hustle+Heart Podcast” for all things trending in beauty, wellness, business and mindset. Initially, the hustle+heart name felt cliché and unoriginal, but I felt like it was the most relevant for now. Eventually, I want to change the name to the “Kren Ali Podcast” but I realized it was smarter to grow the podcast first until my name was more recognizable in the digital influencer field, and so hopefully as the podcast grows and gains more traction, that’s what I hope to do.
Take us backstage: What is it like putting episodes together? How long does it take to complete an episode?
In the first season, I would usually plan several episodes ahead and reach out to friends and colleagues or make connections with people that have expertise in the fields that I discuss on my podcast. I am happy to say that for season 2, I already have so many interested and talented entrepreneurs, coaches, and experts and artists that are DMing me or e-mailing me and asking to be interviewed on the podcast. It’s very exciting to know that they enjoy the show and want to part of what it offers and share their gifts with our listeners.
Episodes can take several hours to put together, from the research stage through to the editing, publishing and promoting stages. Since it’s something I find so enjoyable, it really feels like time flies when I am working on the podcast and putting together a creative project, so for this I’m grateful. A key component is definitely promotion, making sure my website is up to date, making sure the episodes are good quality and are updated on Apple Podcasts and Spotify which are the two portals that the highest percentage of our listeners use.
From my recent analytics, I learned that the “Hustle+Heart” Podcast has listeners from over 20 countries globally! In addition to this, I had always figured it had more of a female following but learned that close to half of our listeners are male, and so using analytics like this helps me make sure that I am producing content that is applicable and more inclusive of a wider fan base and relatable on a global scale.
Do you have a set schedule for your listeners?
Since I still have a full-time career in higher education, my podcast is really my side hustle, initially, in season one I was publishing several episodes a month but I realized that when it comes to podcasts, listeners need time to really digest and process the information they are listening to, especially when it’s an informational or educational podcast. People tune in to specific episodes because they want to be able to learn something new and how to apply it to their own lives. With this understanding I decided that it was better to publish only 1-2 episodes on a monthly basis for season 2.
What lessons do you wish your listeners to apply to their daily lives?
It would be to start focusing on ways to become more self-aware in our daily lives. I think self-awareness is one of the best skills a person can develop. None of us are perfect, we all have things that we want to improve in our lives, relationships, with our self, in our careers or communities. Self-awareness helps us recognize the parts within ourselves, below the surface level and this kind of consciousness enables us to make action plans for how we can improve in these areas so that we can truly start to live more fulfilling lives.
Can you give us some spoilers for those who haven’t gotten the chance to listen to Hustle and Heart? (quotes, lessons, guests)
I have had the privilege of meeting and interview so many awesome people on my podcast, from nutritionists, to coaches, to yoga instructors and fashion brand creators, and talented bloggers like yourself! If anyone is interested in learning what’s new and exciting in beauty, wellness, business and human optimization, if you feel like you need some motivation, or a mindset reset, or need the encouragement to launch that entrepreneurial idea you have, you will really enjoy the “Hustle+Heart Podcast” and my goal for the podcast is that at the end of each episode, listeners have learned more about a topic they’re interested in but have also learned more about themselves and feel excited to try or implement what they’ve learned into their own lives when applicable and feel a sense of empowerment within their lives.
Where do you see this podcast heading? (future of the podcast) Who do you hope to have as your next guest?
My goal is to eventually be able to interview the podcast hosts, and lifestyle entrepreneurs that I’ve learned so much from through the years like Lauren Evarts or Jay Shetty, as well as the authors of so much self-development books that have really impacted me like Eckarte Tolle, Robin Sharma, Gabrielle Bernstein, Vanessa Van Edwards, Tom and Lisa Bilyeu. I feel like the list could go on but these are some of the people whose work I have found so inspirational so I’m putting it out into the universe in hopes that one day we’ll get to share the same stage together!
Where can my followers reach/find you at? (social media handles)
I would be so grateful to anyone interested in checking out the podcast, you can listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google just by searching “Hustle+Heart Podcast” by Kren Ali. I also have a website www.krenareali.com for anyone interested in learning more, checking out my other related projects or if anyone is interested in applying to be interviewed on the podcast. In terms of social media, you can follow the podcast @hustleheartpodcast and my personal influencer account @krenareali. I look forward to staying connected with you all!
What’s your coffee order and your favorite book? (ending it in a light note)
I’m not a big coffee/tea drinker, but fall is my favorite season and I love all of the autumn related drinks companies develop and I recently tried the Starbucks salted caramel cream cold foam cold brew and loved it, would recommend. If you try it and love it, tag me on Insta! It’s been such an awesome experience getting to share my podcast with your blog readers and followers, thank you so much for the interview!