Episode 155: Lessons from 5 Years of Podcasting
Today’s a day for celebration! In this episode, I’m sharing my lessons from FIVE years of podcasting including why having a podcast has been so powerful for me — and a few things I absolutely never expected. Let’s do this.
When it comes to business, five years is a long time, and when it comes to creating consistent content, well, it’s a lifetime. There’s a term in the podcasting industry for people who start shows and quickly abandon them, “podfading” as it’s easy to start and be excited but it’s another thing entirely to show up week in and week out for your listener.
Back in 2014, I launched my podcast with a lot of excitement, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Looking back at my first few episodes, have things ever changed. My first show was the Marketing Moxie podcast, and I ran that show for 2 ½ years until Brittany — my then business partner — and I launched the Inside Scoop.
After launching in 2016, The Inside Scoop got a couple of re-brands along the way, and here we are as the Small Business Boss Podcast. Funnily, the Inside Scoop was only supposed to focus a single season on running a service business, but we quickly realized that was the best possible way to niche the show and the business that was to follow.
Now that the history lesson is done, I have to say, I’m so grateful to myself for realizing five years ago that I didn’t have to have a massive hit podcast or for it to be this over-the-top thing, I just had to start. Being a podcaster has taught me so much, and today, I wanted to share those lessons with you. Maybe you’ve wanted to start a podcast, maybe you’re running a service business, or maybe you just need a little inspiration to start something new.
Lesson #1: Podcasting Gives You a Voice
When I started the Marketing Moxie show, I was not even a full year into my pivot into running an online business. Over my years in business, I’d blogged in various formats, but I tended to avoid anything that wasn’t based on writing. As a writer, I have a tendency to rely on that as my primary form of communication and starting a podcast forced me to present myself, and my ideas, differently.
As a long-time blogger, it’s been shocking to me how much more engaged you are as a podcast listener than you as a blog reader ever will be. And it makes a lot of sense because you spend a lot of time in someone’s ears as a podcaster.
In an unexpected way, podcasting gave me a voice and let people get to know me in a way I’m not sure you would from my writing — or at least in a different manner. As a friend and listener told me recently, “I can tell what’s going on with you by how you sound. Sometimes, you’re super upbeat, and other times, it’s all business.” Plus, you can really hear when I want to make a point, or I’m plain excited about something.
I’ve also noticed I’m willing to share things or talk about things I’m not really willing to write about as I’ve realized I trust my podcast listeners the most. Which leads me into podcast lesson #2.
Lesson #2: It’s Not Always About Monetization
If you’ve ever spent a minute in a group of podcasters, you’ve heard the never-ending conversations about how to monetize a show.
Honestly, I feel like these conversations often miss the point of podcasting. As I’m sure you know, I’m all for making money. Hell, that’s kind of the point of Small Business Boss, but I’m always skeptical when someone starts a podcast purely looking at a show like Entrepreneur on Fire and expecting they too can be making millions.
Monetization isn’t bad. But for a lot of shows, the path to monetization is different than people expect. I don’t know if you’ve noticed — okay you probably have — but we don’t have sponsors on this show. That’s by design. I don’t want to focus on running ads to make a few extra bucks a month as it dilutes the experience.
That’s not the point of this show. I run a service business, and this show is about service. I’m not going to lie, this show does fuel paid offerings for Small Business Boss very nicely, but it’s not the only reason I do the show. The truth? My mission is to help more service business owners create businesses that pay them well and support what they want out of their life. And this podcast is a way to do it.
Lesson #3: It’s Good to Be Small and Mighty
Real talk moment right here. This show has a small and mighty audience. The past year, the show has grown nicely, but we don’t have a million downloads. We don’t have 1000s and 1000s of listeners per episode — and I’m cool with that.
I didn’t start this show or any other show to have a hit. I’m all about quality over quantity, and, yes, there are things I could do to game the system, drive this show up the “charts,” and get more reviews. I don’t care to. It’s not my style as I want people who WANT this information, and more importantly, are going to do something with it.
I believe deeply that we’ve hit an inflection point with the sheer amount of information being created by online business owners. It’s too damn much. We consume more than we create. So, my job is to find the right people — not just a bunch of people who consume, but don’t take action.
Lesson #4: Find Your People
One of the greatest joys of being a podcaster has been the podcasting community — especially the friendships I’ve foraged with fellow female podcasters that I go way back with. Many of us started shows around the same time; some of them are still going strong, and others have moved along.
I’ve been to multiple podcast events, spoken on stage at these events, and am an active member in She Podcasts, a community formed after a bunch of us were at a live event and were tired of being mansplained by podcasting dudes.
I want to give a shout out to that community — especially Elsie and Jessica who pour their love and commitment to podcasting as a medium.
If you’re a podcaster or a want-to-be podcaster and identify as a female or non-binary, this is a group for you.
My love for podcasting has actually led us in supporting agency clients with launching podcasts and creating content week in, week out. So, if you need help with your new or existing show, let’s talk. Voice as a medium is growing fast, and there’s so much potential with this medium.
Lesson #5: Podcast Listeners Are the BEST
Honestly, when I started this show, I never ever knew how the listeners would be like my fave people ever. When someone invests their time into listening to this show, they get to know me in a way that I’m not sure they would otherwise.
It’s resulted in consult calls where a potential client has said to me, “I listen to your show, I know what you’re all about,” to people showing up in the SBB community and in the mastermind with a shorthand that would be impossible anywhere else.
So, to those of you who’ve been listening since the beginning — thank you. If you just found the show or have listened to 100s of episodes, I’m so grateful for you for sharing this journey with me.
And a special shoutout to team SBB who keeps me on track, deals with show notes, social, and everything that makes the show possible. And an extra special thanks to my editor RJ who’s edited every single podcast I’ve ever recorded.