It’s one of the most commonly asked questions I see on social media and within online communities today – regardless of the topic at hand:
“If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently?”
What people really want to know is: “How can I get to where you are now, faster?”
Let’s say you want to start a podcast, a blog, or even an entire business.
There are three integral things you need in order to do it successfully:
1. Resources (for learning how to do it);
2. Dedication and drive (to take action and just start);
3. A hungry audience (who wants and needs what it is you have to offer).
If you have these three things, then the chances of you finding success just skyrocketed.
Bright and shiny objects
As entrepreneurs, we all know firsthand what it’s like to get sidetracked by bright and shiny objects that fly in and out of our minds daily.
We all know how hard it can be to F.O.C.U.S. – Follow One Course Until Success.
A few weeks ago, one of our Podcasters’ Paradise members Jeremy Montoya emailed us about this very topic.
He shared the struggles he encountered when trying to just start with his podcast. The Weapons of Mass Distraction were winning.
His subject line read:
EOFire Post: This is where I most struggled :(
Jeremy definitely did some things right with his outreach, including:
- Sharing a pain point that he experienced;
- Crafting a solution to help those who are currently struggling with this pain point (a post he had written and linked to in the email);
- And in closing, his desire to help Fire Nation.
We no longer accept guest posts on EntrepreneurOnFire; however, we are very aware of the amazing content being produced every day by others in our industry, niche, and in our communities.
So I proposed this to Jeremy:
With your permission, I’d love to do a “round up” post with insights from you and other Podcasters’ Paradise members about what they’d do differently if they could start all over today.
If you agree, the content you’ve provided here will be used, but maybe not in its entirety. I will use your content for the “bulk” of the post, but I’d also like to involve others who, like you, realize that they wasted a lot of time in the beginning focusing on the wrong things.
So my idea is to also reach out to others in Paradise and get their take on each of the topics you discuss here, and add in little “snippets” from them as well.
As you may have guessed by now, you’re reading that round up right now!
With the help and leadership of Jeremy, we’ve put together some priceless insights for you from our experienced Podcasters’ Paradise members who are eager to share their experiences in order to help you get started with your own podcast today.
By the end of this post, you’ll learn:
- Where to start, even if you’ve never recorded an episode before;
- Podcasting equipment do’s and don’ts, especially if you’re on a budget;
- The #1 and #2 places to find podcasters to connect with (great for expanding your network);
- How to build your audience even if you’re starting from scratch;
- What NOT to do when preparing for your launch; and
- The ONE THING you should be focusing on if you’re new to podcasting (hint: it’s not what you think…)
Our FREE 15-day course on how to create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast!
The first step you take when embarking on a thousand mile journey is the hardest.
Sometimes it’s our own fear that holds us back, and sometimes it’s what others will think of us and what we’re doing.
Anything “new” presents it’s own set of challenges, so let’s figure out some ways to get beyond those challenges.
Here’s the first question we asked our podcast panel:
“What was the hardest part about getting started for you?”
Mike Sutton of the ‘Be Build Have’ Podcast said:
“Overcoming the need for it to be perfect right off the bat.”
You know it, Mike!
Striving for perfection, especially when you’re just starting out is a sure fire way to delay any endeavor. Remember: nothing starts out GREAT. Only after you just start do you give yourself the opportunity to practice and improve.
Gregg Clunis from ‘Casual Conversations with Awesome People’ experienced something a little different…
“In the beginning, it all seemed really overwhelming. I think that’s the hardest part. It seems like there are so many things you need to do, and most of it seems really hard to do.”
Great point, Gregg.
If the overwhelm of “where to start” is holding you back, then take a deep breath. A great way to get beyond that feeling is to reach out to – or meet with – someone who has already accomplished the goal you’re after.
Facebook groups and Twitter serve as great places to connect with and find like-minded people who can help you take that next step forward.
I cannot express through words the importance of building relationships and networking as an entrepreneur.
The hardest part?… How about knowing absolutely nothing about podcasting when you’re first starting out?
We’ve all been there.
No one was born a podcaster.
The journey we’ve embarked on as podcasters may seem like a lonely one, and maybe a path that no one else has conquered before…
That’s why our next question for our podcast panel was:
“How do you recommend someone new to podcasting gets started?”
“Feeling the fear and anxiety is normal. When you experience it, lean into it instead of running away.”
That’s what Melvin Varghese from ‘Selling the Couch’ podcast had to say.
When fear strikes, that means you’re onto something.
Our natural reaction as humans is to run from fear and go back to being comfortable again. But not you… You know by now that greatness happens outside of your comfort zone.
So find – and chase down – that discomfort!
The result? You’ll be growing your skills and expertise that much faster.
Max Ghezzi, host of the ‘Peak Performance Trader’ podcast, says:
Solid advice, Max. John created Free Podcast Course for that very reason: get your feet wet, and if you’re ready to move full steam ahead, Paradise awaits!
With so many resources available, the only thing left between you and your show is excuses.
Remember, after the resources comes dedication and drive.
F.O.C.U.S. – Follow One Course Until Success
You know the drill!
That’s why we thought it would be mission critical to ask our podcast panel this question next:
“If a new podcaster only has time to focus on one thing, what should it be?”
Denny Krahe from ‘Diz Runs With‘ says:
“Make your show your own! Focus on other shows that you enjoy as inspiration, but don’t try to recreate other successful shows. Yes, sound quality is important, but the most important thing is to be yourself. Everything else will come.”
Great point, Denny.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating something that looks or sounds like those podcasts / hosts who you look up to. Model the things you like, of course, but really focus on making your show uniquely yours.
Sean O’Daniels, host of ‘Creative Trek’, puts it simply:
“Just focus on getting better and growing your audience. Nothing else.”
Translation: just start your podcast and correct course along the way!
Your artwork, your website URL, the layout of your show notes, whether or not you make it into New & Noteworthy – of course all of these things are important, but focusing on all the things you can be improving over time is a waste of your time: take Sean’s advice!
If you focus on becoming just a little bit better at producing and providing valuable content via your podcast every single day, then you’ll be off to a great start!
Tools Of The Trade
If you haven’t already thought about it, then at this point you’re probably wondering what equipment you need to start a podcast.
There’s a lot of debate about which mic, what kind of computer, and the type of software you should use to record and edit your podcast.
Let’s see what our podcast panel had to say when asked:
“What equipment does one need to get started?”
“The best equipment is whatever you have with you. I have both a mobile setup and a studio set up, and for me, the one that works the best is the one that is easiest for me to use that suits my workflow… and that’s what I’d recommend to others, too.”
That was Phil MacNevin of ‘Minimum Viable Podcast’, and Phil is absolutely right: options can be debilitating, and with so many choices for this mic and that mic – this mixer or that one – you could be stuck on equipment options for weeks!
Jeremy noted in our conversation that he’s heard interviews of all sorts: some with hosts who are using amazing audio equipment, and others from hosts who are recording on their iPhone.
The key to getting started with your podcast is working with what you have and building as you go. There will be time to upgrade once you have the foundation in place for your podcast.
Wayne Renbjor from ‘Wren’s Bbq Podcast‘ has an opposing point of view:
“Spend the money up front. Audio gear is like wine, you know when you have the cheap stuff.”
HA! Wayne, thanks for this!
In my opinion, there is a lot of truth to this: there are many podcasters out there (and many listeners alike) who won’t even give you the time of day if your audio quality isn’t really good.
My recommendation if you’re on a tight budget would be to pick up the Logitech Clear Chat Headset: a mic and earphones in 1 for only $25 on Amazon. This will make a big difference in your audio quality for a very low price.
For all of our recommended podcast equipment, check out our Podcast Equipment page.
The host of the ‘The Brick and Mortar Reporter Podcast‘, Christy Haussler, offers an interesting perspective on this point:
“Don’t waste a lot of time or money trying to figure [your equipment / set up] out. Go with the most basic recommendations to get you started and spend as little as possible.
If you are still podcasting 6 months or a year down the road, then you can worry about upgrading your equipment. Too many people are worried about stellar audio for crappy content. Your audio quality will not get you listeners if your content is awful.”
Preach on, Christy!
Start small, and you can always upgrade once you’ve gotten the most important parts of your podcast locked down, like providing valuable content to listeners who want and need it!
Who’s going to listen to my podcast?
Great question… you’re learning quickly!
What’s a podcast with no listeners?
Here are a few pointers for finding YOUR audience from our podcast panel:
“I was my own avatar. I am planning to open a brewery and so I created the MicroBrewr Podcast. It’s been a great resource for me on my own journey… With more than one brewery opening per day in the U.S., there are many other people like me out there; I just continue to stay focused on how to start a brewery and it seems to be resonating with my audience. “
Great insights from Nathan Pierce!
Sometimes the listeners you are trying to attract are just like you, but you should always prove this by turning it over to your potential audience: you know… posting in those online communities you’re joining to gain insights into the biggest pain points and struggles within your industry or niche?
Yep – once you join those communities and prove yourself to be of value to the group, those members will be more than happy to provide you with feedback when you turn to them and ask: “If there was a podcast that talked about _______, would you listen?”
“They [my audience] found me – and it ended up not being who I initially thought I’d be talking to. They found me through my guests sharing our show and via Twitter.”
Well that’s awesome! And yes, sometimes that’s how it happens, just like it did for Gina Kane and her podcast ‘A Second Chance’.
When you create a podcast that provides valuable content to an audience, and you have guests who you can leverage to help you spread your message, then you will start to attract the right listeners and, as a result, start growing your audience.
You can also be very strategic in your approach, like John Dennis of ‘Smart Time Online’. Here’s his method:
“Precise market research, and through early-on ASK campaigns (simply asking my audience questions and receiving answers via email and through surveys) – this helped me find my target audience!”
Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Find your own best approach given the recommendations above, or combine several aspects of them, and then start testing.
What works for one podcaster may not necessarily work for everyone, but you’ll never know where your sweet spot lies until you just start.
Hesitation and the “right time”
Every great story has that part where the main character second guesses whether or not they’re the right person for the job… Is the right time right now, or should I wait?
You’re not alone if this scenario is playing out in your mind right now.
“So how do you know whether or not now is the right time to launch?”
Here’s what Craig Carpenter, from ‘Modernpreneur‘ experienced:
“… I probably could have launched at a better time.
I was so excited to share my interviews with the world that I launched right before we went on a 2 week vacation. In hindsight, I wish I would have had a larger number of shows recorded before officially launching.”
The best time to launch can sometimes be right now. But as Craig said, you’ll want to be conscious of the other responsibilities you’ll have during your launch period.
Consistency is so key, especially when you first start creating content (this is true of any content creation – not just a podcast).
Set yourself up for success by making sure you have at least 1 month’s worth of “banked content” AND an ongoing production schedule so you don’t find yourself up against a wall.
“…People get so hung up on the launch thing, like they do with their websites and products, as if just by using the word “launch” they’ll attract listeners / visitors / customers.”
That was Nicola Cairncross, creator of ‘The Business Success Factory’ and ‘Own It!’
Nicola makes a great point here: when you learn by doing, you’ll get where you want to go a lot faster.
The real work starts after you launch, so don’t waste all your time and energy on everything before that!
Let’s go back in time
We’ve come full circle here in our roundup of 18 podcasters sharing their insights on what they would do differently if they were starting their podcast all over again today.
We asked our podcast panel one final question:
“If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your podcasting journey (knowing what you know now), what would it be?”
Sandy Donovan offers some great advice:
“Don’t be afraid to mess up. It isn’t your only chance. The entire world didn’t just see you fail. There are millions more that will see the next take.”
Thanks for this, Sandy!
The last thing you want to do when you’re walking out on stage is trip and fall. Luckily for us podcasters, we’re behind a mic, and we have the means to try again or edit the ‘umm’s’ out as we see fit. What’s the worst that can happen?
Be sure to check out Sandy’s show, ‘The Clearly Influential Podcast’.
“I would niche down even further. Even though Internet Marketing is a niche within itself, I would niche down to another category like Email Marketing, Facebook Marketing, SEO…”
That’s experience talking right there. Those thoughts were from Anthony Tran of ‘Marketing Access Pass’.
Niching doesn’t mean you’re missing out on potential listeners; it means you’re making it incredibly crystal clear who it is that should be listening to your show. It’s a win/win: easier for you to know exactly what to focus on, and easier for your listener to say “Yes! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!”
“Just do it.”
That’s wisdom from Mark Greene of ‘Cars Yeah’.
Couldn’t agree more, Mark!
At the end of the day, that’s all there is to it: you have to just start and trust that you will learn from your mistakes along the way. That you will be able to correct course and become better and better every single day at what it is you’re providing to your audience. And that you will start to uncover who your ideal audience really is – over time.
Yes, getting started can be the hardest part, but remember the reward on the other side of your goal that awaits.
Are you ready to take action and start your podcast today?
Are you ready to go after those resources and put in the dedication and drive it takes?
Here are some resources we have for you to help make your journey a little easier:
- Podcast Launch: A complete guide to launching your Podcast with 15 Video Tutorials! by John Lee Dumas
- Free Podcast Course – Over 15 days, we’ll take you step-by-step through the process of creating and launching your Podcast – for free!
- Live Podcast Workshop – Join us for our next live Podcast Workshop, where John will share the 8-step workflow for creating your podcast, the Top 5 ways to Grow your podcast, and the Top 5 ways to Monetize your podcast + a live Q&A!
- Streaming Podcast Workshop – Same as our Live Podcast Workshop, but it’s streaming, so we don’t have a Q&A – and it’s on a day and time that works for you!
A huge thank you to all of the podcasters who contributed to this post, as well as to Jeremy Montoya from The Montoya Experiment for helping bring this all together.
So what do you say: Are you ready to start your podcast today?