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Episode Ninety Seven

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Monstrous Agonies E97S03 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Ninety Seven.

[The music fades out. A slick, corporate jingle plays.]


Distributed by Myriapod. Happy members of the Apocacorp family.

[An upbeat, generic rock theme tune begins, fading out as The CEO begins to speak.]


Hello hello hello, and welcome back to another episode of Business Unusual, the industry-leading podcast where I help you tackle your toughest business challenges so you can grow your dark empire.

Every week, I field questions from liminal entrepreneurs looking to grow their business and make their money work harder. And unlike other advice shows out there, I actually know what I'm talking about.

No feelings, no fluff, no pussyfooting around – just top-level strategies and tactics from someone who's been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

[First Advert]

Speaking of t-shirts, I am high-key obsessed with the new line from Artificer Tees, one of the most recent members of the Apocacorp family.

Artificer t-shirts are made with 40% semi-sustainable cotton and 60% polycarbon jersey. They're stylish, practical, and frankly the most comfortable thing in my wardrobe right now. I love them.

They're available in sizes right up to octuple XL and with any number of armholes between two and seventeen. Head to and use the code CEO10 to get 10% off all purchases over £50.

Now though, let's get stuck in answering some questions! Our first email is from someone looking to break into the tourism industry.

[First Letter]

I've never run my own business before, but I think it's time for me to break out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

I've been living for the past several centuries in the depths of the ancient forests of Eastern Europe, entertaining myself and keeping the larder stocked with what or [laughing] whoever happened to venture into my path! Mm!

I'm sure it sounds like a dull existence for someone with your lifestyle – mm – but it suited me very well. I owed nothing to anybody. Not allegiance, not aid, not my time or energy or attention. I was truly independent.

But the world has changed. People do not come so often into the forests any more. They squirrel themselves away in towns and cities, abandoning the homes of their grandmothers, and think of the dark forests – and what lurks within – as nothing more than a fairy-tale to frighten their children.

I should like to change that. You see, my home is rather distinctive in its architecture, as well as being fully mobile, able to walk from place to place. Considering its unique appeal, I might try opening it to the public as a sort of tourist attraction.

I could offer tours of the hut itself, or rides in my- [excited] flying mortar, ooh! I am quite a skilled magical practitioner, I could have a little shop selling charms and trinkets, perhaps even merchandise.

As I said, this is all new to me. You are the expert here – [agreeing] mmhm. Does this sound like a feasible ambition? Or should I find some other way of luring people back into the woods again.

[First Response]

First let me say, welcome to entrepreneurship! You're right to start off by assessing your assets. In this case, your home. Its recognisability makes it a perfect anchor for your brand and its mobility is going to help you adapt to a dynamic and sometimes volatile tourism market, including changing locations throughout the year.

But in the long run, you don't want to be a follower. You want to be a leader. You want your customers to be coming to you. Let’s not lose sight of that end goal.

I think your first job here is to start developing your business plan, really focusing in on what it is that makes your offering unique. Then you can start pitching to potential investors and raise the capital to make this enterprise a success.

Think about your target market. Who are your potential customers? Young families, lonely travellers? What motivates them? What are their unmet needs? How can you turn their pain points into profits?

You’ll also need to scope out the competition – know what they do well, and what they don’t. Remember – their failures are your opportunities.

With that in mind, you can start laying out a financial plan. Make sure you account for overhead, like ongoing maintenance on the health of your hut, as well as product costs like spell materials or novelty merchandise.

You're going to want to set some high-level targets for yourself in terms of revenue, gross margin, and operating profit. Determine your top KPIs so you have something to measure your success against.

You asked whether your ambitions are “feasible” or not, but I’ve got to warn you against that sort of small-scope, fear-based mindset! I didn't get to where am today asking whether it was “feasible” to completely rewrite the rules of brand engagement, or whether it was “feasible” to innovate the modern gig economy. I just did it.

[Second Advert]

Take your inspiration from the guys at Kairos. They didn't let self-doubt get in the way of their creative vision. They just went ahead and designed their own line of ultra-stylish wristwatches created for anyone trying to work across multiple timelines.

You can see their eye for detail in every element of the watches they make, from the in-built multi-stream calendar to the slime-proof casing! Pick up your own online and use the code CEO15 to tell ‘em I sent you.

Next up, we have a question sent in through the Apocacorp astral portal. To get your invite code just download the Apocacorp app, smudge a bit of blood on the touchscreen, and sign up for daily updates and deals from the Apocacorp family.

You can also get in touch through our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Mastodon, FetLife, Snapchat, MySpace, Reddit, Runescape, Pinterest, Twitch, Jstor and Discord accounts!

Hold on, I'm gonna take a hit.

[They take a long drag on a vape – and burst out coughing and spluttering.]

Urgh! Oh, Jamie, what flavour we got today? Cotton Candy Brimstone, yes, that's right. Available now from our online store as well. Ooh, that's got a kick! Alright. [coughs] Where was I? Um...

This second question is from someone wondering what's the best approach to managing a private collection of artefacts.

[Second Letter]

I've found myself dabbling in a few different industries over the years. I've invested in everything from property to defence, and have earnt a tidy amount through the hard work I've put into managing my portfolio.

Time was, I was in transport. I'd been in shipping since the 1520s but branched out into passenger cruises in the 1800s. Unfortunately- Ah. A ship on my line suffered some kind of "catastrophic engine failure" and promptly sank without a trace, taking most of the crew and passengers with it. F.

I was tied up in all sorts of ridiculous lawsuits after that, from people trying to claim compensation on behalf of their lost relatives – boo! – to an entirely spurious claim that the accident was somehow caused by cost-cutting measures taken when the ship was being built. [scoffing]

Nothing could be proved without any physical evidence, though, and with the ship itself safely at the bottom of the ocean, that was the end of that. Until the new millennium rolled around, and I spotted an opportunity.

My passenger line catered to the highest echelons of society. Our clientele enjoyed fame and fortune in their lifetimes – why couldn't they enjoy the same in their deaths? Oof. Love that!

I started searching for the wreck and after a few years, I found it! Or my salvage company found it, anyway. By a happy accident, it just so happens that the damage to the ship itself is extensive enough that there's no way anyone can find any evidence to tie the wreck back to me. Talk about plain sailing! [laughs]

I knew this wreck would have significant historical and financial interest, so I set to work rescuing as many artefacts as possible. It's amazing what's been preserved down there – everything from jewelled necklaces to articles of clothing.

I sold a few choice pieces to private collectors, but never let it be said I don't know the value of philanthropy. I also established an immersive edu-tainment experience in which to house the remaining items.

But some of the artefacts are proving less cooperative than others. Visitors have complained that, when they look at certain items, they can hear the sound of rushing water and screaming voices, or are overwhelmed with the sensation of cold, salty water filling their mouths. [shuddering sound]

There's a pair of pince-nez that somehow manage to make everyone who looks at them feel like their clothes are soaking wet, until the weight of the water drags them down, vision darkening as they're pulled into the black. Urgh!

And we've had multiple complaints about whispering in the corridors, pleading with the patrons to "put them back where they belong" and "let them rest". Obviously, I can't let this kind of nonsense carry on. The TripAdvisor reviews are really doing some damage. What do you suggest?

[Third Advert]

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[Second Response]

But now, getting back to your question, listener. It sounds to me like a pretty cut and dry case of illegal phasmic occupation. The items' owners have failed to move on in a timely fashion and now they're trying to make that your problem.

Fortunately, the law is on your side here. Unless their lawyers have submitted documentation appealing for permanent possession of the lost objects – unlikely given you were the one to discover them at the bottom of the ocean – you own these items fair and square.

You can call in the relocators any time you like and get these guys off your property and out from under you and your customer's feet, without having to waste time in an endless back and forth about what belongs to who and who deserves to haunt what.

That said, spectral relocation is a pretty controversial topic, so you want to concentrate on keeping the optics here as clean as possible. I’d reach out to a PR team who can help you to put a positive spin on it, just in case.

I mean, if anything, you're doing these guys a favour – helping them find more permanent residences while helping to tell their stories. Try working that angle.

If you wanted, I suppose you could relocate them back onto the boat itself. I'm not sure I see that kind of outlay yielding a positive ROI, though, even with the best of marketing teams drumming up feel-good press. You're better off investing in a reputable relocation crew and boosting your comms budget to make sure you can keep control of the narrative.

[Fourth Advert]

Speaking of narratives, I know first-hand how hard it can be when people insist on telling a certain story about you. It can be really tough being someone everyone looks up to, especially when they have all sorts of expectations about how you should behave and what you should think.

That's why I'm so proud of Apocacorp's Choose Your Own Adventure scheme for unwilling chosen ones. If you have a prophecy or birthright that's been dogging your heels, we can help.

After all, while the Apocacorp family has grown a lot in the last year or two, we're still the leading apocalypse prevention firm. We've been preventing prophecies and resisting revelations since the year dot, and we've gotten pretty good at it.

So, if you feel the inescapable sword of fate hanging over you, get in touch with the Choose Your Own Adventure team today. We can make it all just go away!

That's all for this episode of Business Unusual, the industry-leading podcast for liminal entrepeneurs. Hit that subscribe button, drop us a review, and remember: the real profits are the money we made along the way.

[An upbeat, generic rock theme tune plays, followed by a slick, corporate jingle.]


Distributed by Myriapod. Happy members of the Apocacorp family.

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits]

H.R. Owen

Episode Ninety Seven of Monstrous Agonies was written by H.R. Owen and performed by Dom Guilfoyle and Alex Kingsley.

Dom is the creator of two fantastic podcasts – The Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity and Mortality and all-new Tales from the Low City, an anthology series about a strange, bleak, and beautiful world and the people trying to make a home there.

Alex is the writer and director of The Stench of Adventure, a sci-fi comedy podcast that follows Stella, an ordinary woman whose life is turned upside down when she joins the crew of an intergalactic bin lorry.

You can find social media links for Dom and Alex in the show notes, and please do give them a listen on your podcatcher of choice.

Tonight's first letter was based on a submission by Sana, and the fourth advert was inspired by a suggestion from Ella. Thanks, friends.

If you're enjoying the programme, please consider signing up for a monthly pledge at or making a one-off donation at

This podcast is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The theme tune is Dakota by Unheard Music Concepts.

Thanks for listening, and remember – the real monsters are the friends we made on the way.

[Fade to silence]


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