The Audacity to Podcast is now five years old. These are the biggest five lessons I learned from taking podcasting seriously and professionally for the last five years.
I published The Audacity to Podcast's first episode on June 17, 2010. Listen to “How podcasting led from a hobby to a dream” to learn more about how that podcast launch started my full-time entrepreneurship.
In the five years since launching Audacity, I've learned some important lessons about business and growth. Thus, please indulge some introspection as I share what you can learn from my experience.
1. Set goals and make plans
When I launched The Audacity to Podcast, I knew where I wanted to go with the podcast—I had a list of about 35 topics to cover in episodes! But I didn't know exactly where I wanted to go with my business.
Goals without plans are merely dreams that will never be realized. Thus, brainstorm for the future of your podcast.
If your podcast is part of a business plan, then you definitely need plans for your goals. The Audacity to Podcast was the missing piece to help me launch my business. Back then, my business web design. But I always had difficulty envisioning my future. I kind of drifted in my entrepreneurship for my first couple years.
Now, I have a clearer vision for what I want to do in my business (and my move to Phoenix is part of the plan). It comes down to this: I make solutions for people to share their passions and find success through podcasting. I do this through products and services to help others launch and improve their own podcasts.
My video-training on how to make your podcast findable and grow your audience is just the beginning. I have big things planned that will not only help you start or improve your podcast, but also to help you accomplish greater things with your podcast.
2. Monetize early
It's okay if you don't want to monetize your podcast. But if you do, then start as early as possible! This not only gets your audience used to it, but this can give momentum for your profit.
Here are my top recommendations for monetizing your podcast early.
- Make a product. This doesn't have to be fancy or big. Keep it simple and small enough that your audience won't feel like they're taking a risk to buy it. It could be a $1 bonus episode, a $5 ebook, or a $10 video guide, or anything else relevant to your audience. Here are some tips on products you could make for your podcast.
- Use affiliate links for everything possible. You probably know this already; try to monetize any product links. This can be easy with Amazon.com's affiliate program, especially if you use a plugin to make creating Amazon affiliate links better.
- Join easy, high-paying affiliate programs. Web-hosting affiliates are easy to get and recommend, especially if you use the hosting company. But even though these pay well, they may not matter to your audience. Consider something more relevant, such as Audible's affiliate program ($15 per free-trial signup).
- Participate in relevant joint-ventures. JVs (joint ventures) can be great opportunities to grow your own business or make decent income helping someone else grow theirs. Considering partnering on a webinar, product creation, or special launch. Again, ensure these JVs make sense for your audience and that you truly believe in the product or service.
- Accept crowd-funding. Platforms like Patreon and Joyride allow regular content-creators to easily raise money and offer bonuses to supporters.
When looking at my business, my biggest regret is that I didn't have products to sell earlier in my entrepreneurship.
3. Respect other perspectives
This may be hard, but recognize that there is usually wisdom in the opinions and perspectives of others. When I named my head company “D.Joseph Design,” my friends told me that people would probably call me Joseph. I dismissed that thought, thinking, “No, my name is right there on my business card and in my email signature.” Nope. About 10% of the people I would talk to called me Joseph.
Or how about my cunning with the title “The Audacity to Podcast”? This show was always intended to be about podcasting first, but would frequently feature Audacity. To this day, the word “Audacity” still has instant connotations to many people and at least half of the people I introduce to my podcast think it's about the Audacity software.
I should have listened and respected those opinions more.
When you hear an opinion from only one person, I recommend that you consider it, but don't chase every piece of advice. When you hear the same opinion from more than one person, it's likely that more people have the same thought and you should consider how you can improve.
4. Pursue uniqueness, but don't fear similarity
I certainly wasn't the first podcast about podcasting and I'm not the most popular. I thought the market was mostly saturated when I launched in 2010—with only two other active podcasts about podcasting! (Those were Podcast Answer Man and School of Podcasting.) But I didn't let that deter me because I was confident I had something to say that no one else was saying. Plus, I believed I had a perspective and style unique from the others.
It's that uniqueness that has kept me going and it's why you listen. I go deep into single topics.
Be unique by being yourself. Copycats come and go, or they never go anywhere.
But also don't be afraid to do something similar to others. This “fear” has crippled me in many ways. I'm now great friends with my biggest “competitors”: Cliff Ravenscraft, Dave Jackson, John Lee Dumas, and others. I value those friendships so much, that I have hurt my own business by not want to do anything too similar to them. What was I thinking?
I do not see these friends as rivals. But if I have what I think is a good idea that someone else is already doing, I should still pursue it for my audience and with my unique perspective.
Will you see my equivalent offerings to Podcasting A to Z, Podcasters' Paradise, School of Podcasting, or any other premium podcasting course or community? Maybe. But I would pursue these only if I know they would work for me, not just because I see them working for someone else.
5. Focus on relationships
I don't consider myself to be a relationship-focused guy. It's easy for me to be alone. But I now also realize that the greatest things in my life have come as a result of relationships: my relationship with God, my wife, old friends, new friends, and more.
From a business perspective, I see my audience and profits grow most when I work within relationships.
From a personal perspective, I get more from conferences—such as Podcast Movement—by talking to the people. Sometimes, that's from the stage, but it's always from the conversations in the hallways, over meals, or escaping to that one corner where the party music isn't deafening. I love meeting up with old friends, turning existing acquaintances into friendships, and meeting new people.
Don't get so focused on podcasting that you forget the relationships around you. If you're a Christian, than your #1 priority should be your relationships with God. I don't say that to be preachy, but I think the whole world would be a better place if Christians truly acted like God calls us to act.
If you have a family, they are your next priority: spouse, kids, and then other family. This relationships may not seem to support your podcast or your business, but I hope you're in business to support these vital relationships. Certainly, the support we get from these relationships drives us in our creativity. (When stuff isn't well at home, it's hard to be productive anywhere else.)
When you have business relationships, look for ways you can work together for mutual success.
How is The Audacity to Podcast changing?
I've been experimenting with some ideas and am developing others. For now, I'll share these with my email subscribers and eventually ask for your feedback in a survey.
Thank you for the podcast reviews!
- Internet Marketing Minutia said, “… You want Daniel in your corner when you need someone to diffuse a complicated bomb. In this case, that bomb is technology and how it relates to podcasting. … The Audacity to Podcast podcast has seriously expanded to contain guidance, reviews and commentary beyond its double entendre laden crest.” Read the full review.
- Animockery, “… This show is plush with tips and practices that I will attempt to apply to our efforts. …” Read the full review.
- Jessica Moorhousr, from Canada, said, “… Great quality, helpful tips and easy to listen to. Highly recommend this show to anyone thinking of starting their own podcast.” Read the full review.
- Henry Jasper, from Voices That Carry, said, “… Thanks for helping me get the tools I need to have a great podcast! …” Read the full review.
- Thank you for the nearly 200 people who watched my free webinar, “3 Ways to Make Your Podcast Findable and Stand Out.” The webinar replays are no longer available, but you can still get all the information and much more in my complete SEO for Podcasters video training.
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.