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Podcasting is supposed to be full of passion. But what happens if you feel burned out and want to quit, or you can feel that coming?
10 tips to prevent podcasting burnout
Special thanks to Robert from It's Just Us Cast for inspiring this topic from his question.
1. Find what's causing the stress
Before you give up, try to figure out what's causing your impending burnout. When I start to feel burnout, I typically ask one of the following questions.
- Am I trying to do too much?
- Did I adequately prepare, or did I procrastinate?
- Am I taking my podcast too seriously?
- Am I not taking my podcast seriously enough?
- Is there a particular part I consistently dread?
Once you have answers to questions like these, you can start attacking the problem. The solution may cost (such as buying hardware or software to make something easier), but it's up to you to decide whether saving your podcast is worth the expense.
2. Re-evaluate your goals and expectations
I've previously podcasted about having unstoppable vision for your podcast [#93]. Review that for some ideas on setting proper goals.
Regardless of whether you set goals for your podcast, you probably have expectations. Do you have any of these expectations?
- To make lots of money
- To get a huge audience
- To become famous
- That podcasting would be easier
- That it would take less time
Check yourself for these hidden expectations and address them. It's not wrong to have great hopes, but your expectations need to be reasonable (married people know this—after a few years).
3. Don't try to beat your competition
One of the biggest stresses will be trying to outlive, outpodcast, outprofit, and outdo another podcast or podcasters. Realistically, “competition” is unavoidable, but you can respond to competition positively and grow a community from it [#108].
Trying to beat your rivals will drive you crazy. You'll never feel complete success because someone else will manage to do something better or something you didn't think of yourself. I've been there and I've talked with others who have, too.
4. Allow yourself to take breaks
It's easiest to build a podcast audience when you can podcast consistently, at least weekly. While it's great to provide regular episode, it may also be hurting your content and production value.
Consider changing your schedule or taking a temporary hiatus [#107].
5. Get inspired by others
Podcasting can be a loner hobby. We're usually podcasting by ourselves or the same people every time. Maybe your cohosts are losing interest and that's affecting you, too. Or maybe you just feel all alone.
Get out and talk with other human beings! Attend or even host a local meetup with people who like the same stuff you do, or even just other podcasters who can inspire you.
I'm often inspired when I talk with other business owners. I'm inspired when I help others launch or improve their podcast. I'm inspired when I just talk podcasting with other podcasters (a reason I totally love being part of Podcasters' Roundtable).
When you find others who either do similar things to you, or have the same interests as you, it will help reignite your passion.
6. Try a new approach
You have the audacity to podcast™, the guts to do something differently! So there's no reason you have to always do things the same way. Try something new by changing something in your podcast [#76].
Just like rearranging or painting a room can give it a whole new feel, switching things around in your podcast can be the shuffle you need to get moving again.
7. Make it fun again
Unless you podcast for your job, it's unlikely that anyone is forcing you to podcast. This is your thing; you can do it how you want. So don't be afraid to have some fun with it!
It's easy for me to take my podcasting too seriously and want to cut out anything irrelevant or the unnecessary humorous moments. Laughter was called “good medicine” in the Bible (Proverbs 17:11), and many say, “Laughter is good for the soul.” It's true!
Laughter can be like a breath of fresh air. It's always important for this to be appropriate. So find ways that you can make your podcast, your preparation, or your community interaction fun.
8. Simplify your workflow
I've often said that podcasting for free has a cost—time and knowledge. Maybe your workflow for producing high-quality episodes has bloated.
Re-evaluate the steps you're taking to produce your podcast and consider what takes a lot of time but can be removed. This may mean throwing some money at your podcast for better equipment, a faster computer, or easier-to-use software. These are worthy investments.
- Is live-streaming really necessary?
- Do your shownotes have to be so thorough?
- Do your videos have to have all of the transitions or on-screen graphics?
- Do you have to run several audio processes, or would one do?
- Would different tools make the job easier or faster?
9. Delegate some tasks
Your podcast is your baby. Sometimes, you have to let someone else rock the baby to sleep.
Consider hiring a virtual assistent or even reaching out to your community for volunteers. It's very possible that you have fans who are entirely willing, able, and even eager to do some of the things you don't want to do. It may take some time and work to help them do it according to your standards, but it can be well worth it!
The shownotes for our Once Upon a Time podcast were becoming on huge burden on me and my cohosts (when they would share the responsibility). But when I put the word out, I heard from several eager writers willing to listen and write shownotes while we record, so we have shownotes nearly ready to go when we press stop.
I highly recommend that you listen to a couple podcast episodes from Michael Hyatt: The Fine Art of Delegation and How to Delegate Even If You Don’t Have a Staff.
10. Be willing to end
Lastly, there comes a time when you've done everything you can and you need to decide to simply end this podcast so you can move onto something better.
Don't be afraid to resign. You may have run out of content, are no longer interested, lost your cohost, or whatever. It's always best to gracefully end a podcast than try to keep it going like an undead zombie if none of my other tips work.
It's also very possible that ending one podcast can help your others (or others yet to come) by encouraging your current listeners to stay connected with you through your other content.
Stitcher announced an early-July, 2013, update to the iOS app that will now make stitcher listens show up in your regular media download stats! This is great new for podcasters!
Special thanks to Greg Gronholm for providing an expert explanation and call to action for what podcasters and podcast-listeners can do to help save podcasting!
Check out LibSyn's new official podcast
LibSyn knows podcasting and provides superb media hosting and stats for podcasters (use promo code “noodle” for a free month!). Now, Elsie Escobar is hosting LibSyn's official podcast that will cover podcasting tips for marketing, growing your audience, making money, and more.
Need personalized podcasting help?
I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.
Ask your questions or share your feedback
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- Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome)
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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.
[…] 2 2013 update – this podcast was included in Episode 132 of The Audacity to Podcast – thanks to Daniel J. […]
Hey Daniel –
Nice episode… best # for me.. is #3.. and I haven’t even started my podcast yet! I’m slightly afraid/hesitate etc.. and yet really good friends with who my competition is! Ironic huh! But then again, I look at the gas station situation.. 1 on each corner.. all getting business.. with perhaps a slightly different options. Time to get over that issue huh! ?
ps. and thank you for finally not adding/speaking each url reference!
Have you listened to my episode about the 7 deadly fears of podcasting?
I have worked hard on making sure my URLs are easy and always compatible. So I may just start saying, “slash one thirty two,” after the first couple times.
Regarding “taking a break”, this is where having a co-host is a great idea. We have three co-hosts and, over the past couple of years, two of them needed to take a month off and recharge their batteries. Since there were two other co-hosts, we could keep the podcast going.
That’s easy to do when you have several cohosts. But if you only have one, then you take a bigger hit if they need a break.
Absolutely. And what I didn’t mention is that having multiple co-hosts can also raise other issues and problems. There’s no easy solution but I really appreciate you bringing up the problem of burn out. It can be really scary to think that it’s time to end something that’s been a big part of your life for several months, several years, etc.
We’re about to hit the 2 year mark on our show and we are (thankfully) still going strong. But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about what it will be like when we eventually close up the show.
Perhaps people can even use that to their advantage – create a “bucket list” for their podcast (special guests, topics, etc.) that they want to try to achieve prior to ending the show.
On another note, Daniel, a couple of months ago, I posted a comment about using the iXZ from Tascam and a lav mic as a field recorder for audio. You told me to let you know when I had a sample of it. It’s available on YouTube at http://youtu.be/LDZ09e9vA9k
Thanks for another great podcast!
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