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Have you ever enthusiastically launched yourself into a creative pursuit, only to give up after a few weeks?
Or maybe you’d like to start something, but you don’t know how?
Staring at that blank canvas can be awfully intimidating. Plus, creating a body of work that people will notice seems like a HUGE mountain to climb.
I felt this way when I started my first podcast at DesignDrawSpeak. I managed to sustain it for 39 episodes (about 9 months), until I change my direction and launched The C Method. But it meant I had to start all over again with the podcast.
That was just over a year ago. And I’m proud to say, I’m still managing to consistently publish the show. Of course, sometimes I don’t meet my Wednesday 9am deadline, but hey, no-one’s perfect.
Lessons from a year of podcasting
1. When you’re starting out, copy from other people
When I started my first podcast, I didn’t really know what my own style was, so I did what I knew, which is what I’d learned from other people. I was listening to successful podcasts like The Cliff Ravenscraft Show (formerly Podcast AnswerMan), Social Media Examiner and Smart Passive Income. I copied what I liked about their shows, and applied it to my own.
After a while, I learned more about what I liked, which enabled me to develop my own style. Now, I feel my podcast is much more authentic to me.
This works the same for music, art, fashion, writing; any sort of creative pursuit.
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.
– Jim Jarmusch
2. Repurposing works
It sucks when you put all this effort into a podcast episode, only to have it sit there in the bowels of iTunes. I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with repurposing your content for other mediums.
For example, I’ve turned podcast episodes into Toastmasters speeches, workshops into podcasts, audio podcasts into videos, podcasts intro transcripts, blog posts into podcasts…you get the point.
3. For a podcast launch, make the most of your 8 weeks in ‘New and Noteworthy’
My current podcast has been way more successful than my first show, and I attribute a large aspect of that to ‘New and Noteworthy’ in iTunes. I made sure to publish multiple episodes in the first week and to get as many iTunes reviews as possible (at the time of writing, I have 27 reviews in the Australian iTunes store, and 11 reviews in the American iTunes store. Oh, while you’re here, would you be willing to leave a quick rating and review? Click here, or if you don’t know how, click here for a quick tutorial!)
4. Sticking to a creative pursuit teaches you discipline
As I run my own business, my deadlines are mostly self imposed. No one is forcing me to get up. No one is forcing me to go to work. No one is forcing me to release my podcast every week. I have to force myself.
I’ve found that running this weekly podcast has taught me that I CAN be disciplined. As a result, it’s helped be become much more disciplined in other areas of my life, like health and fitness.
5. How to be kind to myself
At the same time, I’ve also learned not to beat myself up if I do happen to miss a strict deadline. Yes, I say this podcast is released at 9am Australian Eastern Time, but hey, sometimes it doesn’t go out until 10am. Do I beat myself up? No. I’m not perfect, and I realised that no one’s going to be banging on my door going “Where’s my 9am podcast?!”
6. When you’re doing something that’s authentic to who you are, it’s easier to sustain.
After working on my first podcast for 9 months, I just wasn’t feeling it. It was too specific and I felt it limited me in what I could produce, or who I could reach. The ‘Stand Out Get Noticed’ podcast is much more authentic to who I am, and allows me to share my message with more of the people who see the value in what I offer.
If you’re thinking of starting a blog or podcast or business or whatever, it MUST be aligned with your values. It MUST allow you to be your authentic self, and it MUST be something you’re passionate about. Otherwise it will be very difficult to keep up a sustained effort.
7. To achieve anything worthwhile, you need patience, persistence and momentum
It’s really hard when you’re starting something, because you start with a blank canvas. You look around you, and see people with hugely successful blogs, or podcasts with 300 episodes, or multiples books published, and email lists with thousands of people.
Achieving the same thing seems impossible.
It’s like a huge mountain to climb. And you wish somehow that 50 blog posts could magically appear, along with 1000 Facebook likes, but instead you’re staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page, thinking “How on earth am I going to build something big enough so people take notice?” It seems like such a large task.
I was the same with my podcast. It’s so hard to start at Episode 1. And I did it not just once, but twice! But I started with the first step, I then took the next step, and slowly but surely, I’ve reached this point where I can look back and say “Wow, look at this thing I’ve created!”
Anything worth doing takes time. So whatever it is you’re working towards, keep on going
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I also have a special song for podcast listener Simon who told me he’s listened to every single episode. Wow. I DID promise in episode 40 I’d reward such dedication with a personalised ukulele song, so here it is.
If you’re wondering, the tune is to Savage Garden’s Santa Monica. A bit obscure yes, but that’s what came to me when I was going home on the bus