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Late Starters Club Podcast

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Ep80 Transcript: Interview with Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo

April 3, 2023

Andrea Vahl: Are you thinking about starting a podcast later in life, but aren’t sure if it can actually go full-time? Well, listening to today’s episode as I talk to Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo about their podcast, One Extraordinary Marriage, we talk about the journey they took, what it really took for them to go full-time with this podcast, and what other things they’re doing in their business. It’s awesome.

Hello dreamers. Welcome to the Late Starters Club, giving you the inspiration mindset and tools you need to start something midlife and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Hey, late starters, it’s your host, Andrea Vahl and I am here with Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo. I’m so excited! I met Tony at Pod Fest and we got to talking about your podcast and your mission and how you guys started, and I was like, “I have got to have you guys on the show!” This is so awesome. So welcome to you both.

Alisa DiLorenzo: Thank you. Thank you for having us.

Tony DiLorenzo: Thank you, Andrea. It’s so great to be here with you, but more importantly, it was so great to meet you at Pod Fest.

Andrea Vahl: Yes, awesome. It was my first time there. I loved it and got to meet people doing amazing things such as you guys. I’m just going to let people know what you do. You guys speak to a worldwide audience about sex, love, commitment and you challenge listeners to make their relationship a priority.

And I’m so excited you guys sent me this, ‘The Six Pillars of Intimacy’ book that you have out. It’s transformed a whole bunch of marriages.

Tony DiLorenzo: Tens of thousands since it first came out in November ’21.

Andrea Vahl: Yes! And your podcast, One Extraordinary Marriage has reached millions of people. That is just amazing. So again, welcome. I’m super excited to have you guys here.

So just tell us a little bit about how you got started on that journey to starting this kind of business. And did it start with the podcast?

Did it start with an idea? What was the shift that happened to bring this all about?

Alisa DiLorenzo: So as you’ve shared, the name of our podcast is One Extraordinary Marriage and really everything started because Tony and I did not have an extraordinary marriage. We found ourselves at year 11 – we’ve now been married 26 years – really in this place where we were excellent roommates.

We could get through the day-to-day handling the tasks of life together and of raising our two young children at the time, but we weren’t actually doing this thing called marriage really well.

Tony is the big idea guy and we were getting ready to lead a small group at our church and he came to me one night as we were getting ready for bed and he’s like, “I think we should do a 60 day sex challenge.”

We had just learned of these two other couples that have done these epic sex challenges. I don’t even know, Andrea, if he actually finished the question or the proposition before I was like, “Absolutely not. Are you kidding me? We’ve got a two and a five year old and you want me to do what?”

And we were at a place where we weren’t even really having sex because there were so much disconnect in our marriage.

So I said no. I then got up out of bed, went to the bathroom, put on a fabulous avocado green face mask so that he would know that nothing was happening that night either.

And then the next day, I literally had a come to Jesus moment where I had the thought, if I’m not willing to even try and engage with my husband, then my marriage is over. It’s just a matter of time.

And that was the start of what would end up being a 60 day sex challenge.

We completed 40 out of 60, but it was the following summer when we shared our story that people started asking us. What’s next?

Tony DiLorenzo: Yes. And literally Alisa and I at this point in time, were like, “We’re good . What do you mean what next? Our marriage is good. We’re going to continue to grow.”

What has now become the Six Pillars of Intimacy started then. And so we were building on those pillars. We were strengthening them. But it just kept coming up. People were like, “Oh man, what you did was amazing. When when are you going to teach more? When are you going to share more?” And this was 13 years ago now, in 2009 when blogging was big.

So we stepped into blogging, we started writing and we didn’t like it. We were actually getting more mad at each other. There was a lot of frustration around blogging.

And people began to read in between the lines. And so it was really hard to share what was really on our heart, how we were feeling, the emotions that were coming through.

And we had hired a business coach just to help us get this thing moving. And he just mentioned that there was this thing called podcasting. And I was like, “Well, what’s that?” He goes, “You can talk. It’s like a radio show.” I’m like, “Wow, that’s really cool. That would be awesome.”

And so he’s like, “Hey, I can hook you up with a guy who can help you get it all set up.” So I was like, “Alisa, we’re doing this.”

So I bought all the equipment. I hired this guy to get us up and running.

It was hard back then, 13 years ago, it was hard to get this stuff together. And then it all sat there for about three months.

Alisa DiLorenzo: Until I got irritated and was like, is this the most expensive paperweight that we bought? It’s so funny that it sat right to the door.

Tony DiLorenzo: This is all the equipment…

Alisa DiLorenzo: It was in a big box and he got it and it came in the front door. It got placed by the door to the garage and it didn’t move for three months, so we had to walk around it. We had to step over it.

And finally I was just like, “You have to do something with this box. I’m irritated.” And so it was a very cold January night for San Diego and we sat down and recorded our first podcast episode.

Tony DiLorenzo: And took many takes. And that’s where it all started with the idea that we wanted to impact one marriage. And we just got behind our microphones not knowing if anybody would ever hear it, not knowing if anybody would listen, but we had a desire to impact marriages so that other people in marriages didn’t feel like they were alone.

Andrea Vahl: That is awesome. And now you have several million downloads… what’s your yearly download?

Tony DiLorenzo: So last year we did just under 2.7 million downloads.

Andrea Vahl: Oh my gosh. That’s incredible. You probably had no idea when you were starting it back then that it would now be a full-time business for both of you.

Tony DiLorenzo: No.

This was very much hobby based, hobby driven, we wanted to just impart what wasn’t out there in the market. We felt like where we were, the stage of life we were in, the books and those that were sharing around marriage didn’t really address a lot of the issues that were really going on.

I was running another business. Alisa was a full-time mom and she was doing some direct sales at that time. An we were like, we just want to talk about it. We’re just going to go week by week, what’s happening.

Back then too we didn’t have numbers. We didn’t have download numbers. There weren’t back ends where it showed you any of this data or anything, and so we just kept talking. And people found us in North Carolina, Alaska, Africa. People were emailing us and people were listening.

And so we just continued to move forward and just made it our weekly ritual. And it really was a healing for our own marriage because we grew so much through it.

Andrea Vahl: That is awesome. And so then the book came out much later. And actually I’m going to just give another little plug for the book. You guys, you have to read this. Anyone who likes to be in relationships with humans should read this.

Alisa DiLorenzo: We’ll just take that!

Andrea Vahl: Look at how far I’ve read in one day. I just was ploughing through it. It’s really, really good.

So then the book came out a lot later. 10 years later after you started, right? But when did it start becoming like a really serious business?

What was the shift there?

Alisa DiLorenzo: So The Sixth Pillars of Intimacy is actually our sixth book. But it is the one that has been the culmination of all those years of lessons learned, of conversations had, of coaching sessions and whatnot.

And it was probably about five or six years in and I remember Tony had his other business and we were funding One Extraordinary Marriage through savings, through the income from that business.

And I remember he called me one day with a little bit of frustration, and he said this is either going to make money or we’re going to close it down.

Tony DiLorenzo: And the reason that was Andrea is because I was running my other business, which was a solopreneur business, right? In my former life I did what was called paintless dent repair. That was my business and so I was in it every day.

And What Extraordinary Marriage was growing. There was more demand. We had hired an assistant and a customer support person. There were a lot more calls coming from Alisa, like, this is going on that’s going on. This person needs this, this person needs that. And it just got to a point where I was like, “I can’t do both jobs well.” One was out in the field, one was here at home, and so I was doing a lot of stuff early in the morning.

I’d wake up before the family would wake up, I would work for a couple hours, I would see the kids off. I would rush. I would give Alisa a kiss and be like, I’m gone. I’d be out eight hours a day. And then I’d come home, hang out with the family, eat dinner, and then I’d spend another two or three hours and go to bed at midnight or something.

And I was just getting burned out. And so it just came to a point where it’s like, if One Extraordinary Marriage is going to be what we really believe it is and the call that it has, then we need to transition this thing.

And by that time we had a couple of books. But as any new author or anybody who’s new into something knows, you create something, you publish something and you think you’re going to sell thousands upon thousands and you sell like 50.

Alisa DiLorenzo: Field of dreams! Build it and they will come until you build it and they don’t come!

Tony DiLorenzo: And you try to market and you try to do Facebook ads, you try to do this or you try to do that and it doesn’t work.

So that was just that hard conversation about five, six years in just going like, if it’s going to do something, then we really need to start making something happen here.

Andrea Vahl: Right. You need to get serious and I think that’s definitely what it takes, right? You need to be super intentional about what do the programs look like? What are we offering how are we getting people in? How are we writing copies so that people actually buy them? It takes so much time.

And then so you started to do more, so ynow ou’ve got coaching, you’ve got retreats, right?

What other things are you guys doing?

Tony DiLorenzo: Courses. And we have our position post magazine. Which I would consider a continuity because we have either a monthly option or a yearly option.

We also have our e-commerce site where we sell all our books, other products, we do some drop ship there.

So we have a number of different things that we have set up over the years to help families. Wherever they’re at they can step in. They can go, “Okay, I need lube.” All right, well buy some lube. Other people are like, “I need coaching.” Okay. Apply for coaching.

Andrea Vahl: Or I need coaching to get to the lube!

That’s so awesome. I love that.

From a really analytical standpoint it’s so important to look at what can you offer. Because I think sometimes people get stuck on just one offer, one one way of monetizing.

And when you can monetize in lots of different ways, I think it’s really important for a sustainable business.

So why don’t you guys share some of the obstacles? What are some of your favorite obstacles that you’ve run up against?

Tony DiLorenzo: Favorite obstacles? Wow, I like that. I like that one!

Alisa DiLorenzo: I guess on one level I’m kind of married to my favorite obstacle.

Tony DiLorenzo: Well, I love you too, honey.

Alisa DiLorenzo: I like, but it’s a really interesting dynamic when you work with your spouse.

Tony DiLorenzo: Well let’s even share with Andrea how we figured out how to get to the place right we are right now, that was an obstacle.

How do we figure out how to work together?

Alisa DiLorenzo: When you first start a business, everything needs to be done.

And so you’re doing different things like we were blogging and we were writing, and then we were trying to podcast, and who’s writing the ideas of the podcast, right? Who’s writing books? What does that look like? What’s a course? Who’s going to buy the course?

And we had really got into this place where it was just muddled and it was just sort of like, “Well, here’s what needs to get done and somebody’s going to do it.”

Tony DiLorenzo: And neither would do it!

We have these amazing meetings and then nothing would get done.

Alisa DiLorenzo: Someone wouldn’t show up to the meetings. That mysterious, invisible someone. And what we learned and what we had to really work through – and this is why I say I’m married to my biggest obstacle – is because we didn’t know when we first got started where our strengths and our passions were.

Those were conversations we had later on, after we had started One Extraordinary Marriage. And for anyone that is starting, evaluate for yourself and for your team what the strengths and the passions are. If we had jumped into that sooner, I think some of our early tension might have dissipated.

And when you’re starting something you don’t know, but as you start, it starts to evolve. And it wasn’t until we really started to get into our individual lanes that things got easier for us. For example, I am the coach here at One Extraordinary Marriage. It is a gifting that I know I have.

I’ve seen crazy miracles and transformations in my couples. Tony has two statements when it comes to coaching. His coaching can be boiled down to, “Start doing X. Stop doing Y.” I’m a little more nuanced!

We tried coaching together and we discovered that he’s actually incredibly effective as a coach, but it’s not his passion.

And so when I took that on entirely, it really started to elevate what was happening in our business. And with the tech stuff, he may not always like the tech stuff, but he’s much, much better at it than I am.

Tony DiLorenzo: I do enjoy it. And I would say like some of my favorite obstacles have been around the tech stuff. From starting out at on AWeber to now being on ConvertKit. And using different platforms like Entreport and ClickFunnels and different ones and working out how to get that set up so that it works smoothly, not for just us internally, but for the one family so that they can buy something, they can get it, they can get access to it.

And that to me has been fun. It definitely causes some stress when you are moving everything from one platform to the next, and you’re trying to figure out how it all integrates, but it’s finding good people that you can bring around you to check and set it all up. So yeah, those have been some favorite obstacles.

Alisa DiLorenzo: I actually thought of another one.

Tony DiLorenzo: I love it. This is a great question because we’ve never been asked this question before.

Alisa DiLorenzo: I think one of the biggest obstacles too for us is that Tony is a visionary and it’s an obstacle and an opportunity for growth. Tony is a total visionary. He’s like, “We’re just going to go and we’re going to end up here. And you know what? We’ll build the plane as we’re flying.” We’re

I am details and processes so I’m actually probably his biggest obstacle.

Tony DiLorenzo: Because I will bring the vision, I will bring the dream and Alisa because, and I really do believe it’s because of how she works so well with her coaching clients, she sees the little details. She catches the nuances. She catches the movement of the hand or the head or the sigh. She catches all of that. And within my dreams and visions, she’s catching all of those where I’m just like, “No, we’re going to do a marriage getaway in Cancun!”

And Alisa says, “But how about this and how about this and how about this?” And I’m like, “It’s okay. We’re going to get to Cancun.”

Alisa DiLorenzo: If you have both of those within an organization sometimes there’s a little bit of a war.

Andrea Vahl: Yes. I think it sounds like you really compliment each other in certain ways.

I actually did have a business partner where we launched a course together, and it was sort of a similar type of thing where I was like, “Whoa, the sales page is up. I’m selling it!” And she’s like, “Wait, wait, wait!”

Tony DiLorenzo: I would say it’s the same even for those who are starting and not looking to bring on a partner. These aren’t uncommon situations. You don’t have to be married to be in that situation. You could have contractors or employees.

These are the same things that are going on and you have to be clear what each role is. If you’re starting something, you have to decide who is taking on what roles and who’s getting what tasks done. It’s going to allow your organization to move forward.

Andrea Vahl: It’s so true.

Just understanding like you said, who’s doing what, how it’s all going to work. Who’s the QA person, etc.

So I want to talk a little bit about your book and the whole idea of the six pillars, because it was kind of eye-opening to me the way it’s all just grouped into these very foundational pillars that go way deeper than you might think.

You might think, “Oh yeah, let’s talk about finances.” But the way you talk about it in this chapter as a whole different idea is interesting. So talk about a little bit about your methods.

Alisa DiLorenzo: Well we’ve been talking about intimacy literally from the very beginning.

Our very first episode is called 60 Days of Sex, and so that was an episode where we’re talking all about sexual intimacy. We didn’t have a name for it back then, but what we realized when we did that 60 day challenge was that one, you can’t have sex 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So building intimacy in a marriage is really looking at all of the different aspects that comprise a marriage.

Tony DiLorenzo: I just want to step in real quick though. When we say intimacy, we mean closeness and connection.

Just making sure the listener understands that intimacy is closeness and connection. Intimacy isn’t just sex. And that’s what we’ve learned over the years.

Alisa DiLorenzo: And that really became a cornerstone principle that we share in the book, how can you look at these different areas, the six pillars, and say “What can I do and what can we do to create intimacy, to create that closeness and connection.”

Looking at our emotional intimacy, how we communicate in our physical intimacy. The non-sexual touches. You mentioned financial intimacy. So yes, building closeness and connection when it comes to your money and all the things that are financial . When it comes to your spiritual intimacy and shared faith practices, when it comes to recreational intimacy, the fun things that you do together. And then finally your sexual intimacy. You know how the two of you engage sexually.

As I’ve coached over the last 10 years we’ve received countless emails and direct messages and we were seeing that there were these patterns where couples were struggling with thinking there was a problem in their marriage, but they didn’t have a vocabulary. They didn’t have the words to say, “Something’s going on with us, but I don’t know how to fix it. We struggle to communicate.”

And what we found in launching this book is as couples read it, as they develop this vocabulary, they can call out these six different pillars.

It’s an empowerment tool to really allow them to take action in their marriage.

Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome. That is so great. And you guys on your podcast, you don’t hold back. You talk about everything! .

Tony DiLorenzo: We do, and it comes from a place when we started the podcast all those years ago.

One of our biggest tenants was be open, honest and transparent.

We wanted that to be a core value of what the show was going to be. It’s been tough at times. It’s been liberating at times.

At the end of the day, I think it’s what’s allowed us to speak into so many marriages because we’re not scared to talk about lube and how we’re going to use it.

We’re not scared to talk about these touchy topics. Even around finances. Some people don’t like shared accounts or even talking about, “Do we get a will? Should we have the trust because now we’ve got to think of end of life and I don’t want to deal with that because I’m 30 years old.”

And yet all of us are going to eventually die, and how are we going to protect what we have and our families? Talking about touchy topics has been truly a blessing for us, and it’s allowed us just to share with one another. Even during times of the week when we are just running around, it’s our time to just get behind our microphones and just tell each other what’s going on in our own lives.

Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome.

You guys were starting podcasting before it was as mainstream as it is now. Who have been some of your greatest teachers and influencers along this journey that have helped you grow?

With the business, with the podcast. All of that.

Alisa DiLorenzo: It’s interesting because we actually just had a meeting with one of our coaches earlier today, Dan Miller. Tony, met Dan 20 some years ago.

Dan has been this constant in our lives, whether through direct coaching or just being able to observe what he’s done and what he does well in terms of creating community coaching programs and whatnot. And so for me, just having that observational, but also having the one-on-one coaching opportunities with him, he’s been very instrumental in creating a lot of shifts in what we do at One Extraordinary Marriage.Just from a business standpoint.

Tony DiLorenzo: Yes. I would say podcast wise… I’ll do a podcast and then another coaching program that we’ve done.

Podcast wise, I love Mixergy. It’s just one of those that I have honestly listened to, I think for 10 years now and I can walk away and listen to a bunch of other podcasts, and then I always come back to listening to Andrew and what he’s done over there, Mixergy, and I’ve always just appreciated it.

I think it’s because a lot of the businesses he’s talking to are in the tech world, which is not where we are but I learned from them. And they’re massive VC companies, but he also talks to smaller folks as well. So I’ve always just enjoyed his style of interviewing. Because on the One Extraordinary Marriage show, we don’t do any interviews. It’s just Alisa and I. I just have always found it really cool and just have enjoyed it.

And then more recently, self-publishing has been the company we’ve worked with and the coaching. The coaches we’ve worked with to help us with the Six Pillars of Intimacy.

And we have a new book coming out mid this year and they’re helping us with that one.

And I have just loved Chandler Bolt, who leads that organization with so much zest and excitement about what you can be as a self-publisher. So many years ago when we released our first book, nobody really knew what that was.

If we were on KDP very early on, and I wish I would’ve really stuck in that because I think our Amazon platform would be much larger at this, but I love how he just champions self-publishers who are willing to just go out there and go, “I’m not going to let anybody tell me no, I’m not going to wait for a traditional publisher to tell me I’m good enough. I’m going to get it out there and I’m going to get it into the world.” So I’ve appreciated Chandler and his team.

Alisa DiLorenzo: Yes. And I’ve got another podcaster that’s been really influential. And this is just someone I discovered over the last year. I’ve known about him for years, but the podcast is called I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

I’m a very auditory learner, and so the way he coaches and the questions that he asks, I have already found myself just incorporating those really through osmosis. It’s the only podcast that I’ve ever binged the entire catalog of. He’s got about 80 shows and I binged the entire catalog. And that’s saying a lot for me because I generally just dabble into a podcast. But he’s so good at asking great questions.

Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome. It’s been a while since I’ve l listened to that podcast, so now I’m going to circle back to it.

Alisa DiLorenzo: For us as well, I get to listen to another couple deal with financial intimacy and that’s one of the six pillars. And so I just love somebody that just digs into that.

Andrea Vahl: That is awesome. Well, this has been so fun. This time always just flies by so much.

And I want to make sure that we get enough time to hear where people can find you and all that stuff.

But I always like to ask for an inspirational saying or quote that inspires you. And I know you guys have two…

Alisa DiLorenzo: This is one that we post from time to time up on our Instagram and it says, “If her bra and her panties match, it wasn’t you who decided to have sex.”

Andrea Vahl: Great. So good.

Tony DiLorenzo: And mine is be intentional and take action. And it’s something that we have shared.

It’s another one of our core values. Be intentional. No matter if it’s in your marriage and your business, wherever it may be, parenting, you’ve got to be intentional and then you’ve got to take action. Because without action, we’re just going to sit in the same spot.

Andrea Vahl: And I just love what you guys are doing out in the world there. Helping marriages, helping relationships, helping people at all different stages too. It’s not just getting into marriage, those who have been married for 50 years, it’s relationships in general.

And like I said, I do seriously think that every single person should read this book. Because I think it can just help in your relationships with other people in anything. So I love it.

So where can people find you, find your podcast? I know you’ve got oneextraordinarymarriage.com.

Tony DiLorenzo: You know what? How about if we let everybody go for a free quiz on the six pillars? Find your strongest pillar. Find out what your strongest pillar is. You can go to oneextraordinarymarriage.com/freequiz.

Take the quiz and at the end, it’s just going to spit out your strongest pillar. And we’re all about going from strength to strength. Let’s start where you are strong. You can always find out which one has cracks in it, but you can also build that one up.

So go to oneextraordinarymarriage.com/freequiz.

Andrea Vahl: That is awesome and we’ll have those links in the show notes. But guys just go listen to their podcast, follow them, get the book. It’s just going to improve your life, right there. So thank you guys so much for being on the show.

Tony DiLorenzo: Thank you Andrea.

Our pleasure.

Andrea Vahl: Bye everyone. Hope that was helpful and make sure you grab the free guide Top Tools for Late Starters on the website at latestartersclub.com and let’s turn dreaming into doing.

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Late Starters Club Podcast
Late Starters Club Podcast

This is the place for inspiration, motivation, and mindset resets. You will walk away ready to take action with practical and informative advice from some of the most amazing “Late Starters” on the planet.

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