Every podcaster has a unique podcasting journey. In this episode, Whitney Lauritsen shares hers by answering questions about her background in film and psychology from Emerson College in Boston. She opens up about how the two programs impacted her journey into podcasting and the lessons she’s carried during that transition. Whitney also shares how being the “teacher’s pet” helps her become a better podcaster. She dives deep into her “why” and how her passion for helping people and being of service bleeds through her work. Listen in as Whitney shares valuable advice on how to make it in the podcasting industry as well as get started.
Listen to the podcast here
My Podcasting Journey: From Film School To Content Creation
This episode is going to be similar to the one that I did. I’m going to be answering some interview questions. I have been approached for some written interviews more frequently than usual. I had a different topic in mind but I’m glad that I’m going to do this topic instead because the other topic I want to spend a little bit more time researching because it’s based on a book that I’m reading. I thought, “Maybe it would be better if I finished reading the book before I talked about it.” I’m excited to share that with you. That’s is a little teaser to an upcoming episode.
These interview questions come from a special place, which is from somebody who’s at the college that I graduated from, Emerson College in Boston. For those of you who haven’t heard me talk about my experience at Emerson before, which has only been in a few episodes, I found out. I went back and tried to find references to Emerson. I talked about it with the guest, Adam Garrett-Clark, who I went to school with.
I talked about it in the third episode of the show, where I spoke about my journey up until this show and a few other times I have mentioned it. I went to Emerson College to study Film Production. I minored in Psychology and ended up becoming a content creator. These interview questions are coming from someone who needed to interview someone in their field because this person who is going to remain anonymous to protect their privacy is studying podcasting as well as film production. Podcasting might’ve been like their minor, which is so cool because that was not an option. I don’t know what stage they were at. I don’t know that far back in the history of podcasting beyond the boom that podcasting has experienced in the past years.
Podcasting has been around for a lot longer than a lot of people realize. When I was going to Emerson, there were broadcast journalists, which did not appeal to me at all. In hindsight, how cool would it have been given that I now do so much work in the podcast? I did not expect my career to go in this direction. I thought for sure that I was going to work in filmmaking for the rest, if not most of my life. I was that passionate about it. I grew up loving video production. It wasn’t even really a career to my recollection. Emerson College might have done it in media development or something but it was always classified as the actual art of film versus video.
Video is looked down upon. Now, that digital content is so big, which it wasn’t at all when I was studying at Emerson. It’s neat that we don’t fully know what’s going to be ahead of us. That’s one of the things I’ve been reflecting on since this person sent me these questions. I’ve been thinking about we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. A lot of us have been conditioned to think in terms of a five-year plan but we don’t know what’s even going to happen tomorrow. Maybe we can predict it a lot better than we could 1 or 5 years from now. Especially with the internet evolving so quickly, there are many unknowns. I’m learning to be more comfortable with that and embrace the unexpected.
In hindsight, looking back on where I am now versus where I was studying Film Production in college, I’m glad that things evolved the way that they did. I wish I had had that option because, as I’ve spoken about in the past, the film industry as a whole did not suit me. That’s why I left it. There are a lot of elements of that world that don’t resonate with me. Content creation, working for myself and doing most things on my own works a bit better. I wish I could transport myself back to college and think about the struggles and how maybe constrained I felt because I think back then, I thought there were 1 or 2 ways to become a filmmaker. It was lik, go to film school and then work in Hollywood. There were also examples like Quintin Tarantino. I’m pretty sure he didn’t go to film school.Podcasting feels very intimate in a lot of ways. Click To Tweet
At least I had this general idea of filmmakers like him that were breaking the mold and not doing it in a traditional sense. There were also a lot of conversations about which school you went to and how much of an impact did they make. There is a lot of structure involved, which I thrived in and part of which I probably didn’t feel that comfortable in but didn’t think I had an option.
This episode is going to be about these podcast questions I was sent. I have not read them. I scanned a couple of words but I did zero preparation or thought before this. I thought it’d be fun to transcribe this into my answers. I don’t know if these questions are going to be public in any way or just used within the classroom or something. I’m not quite sure of the context. Maybe you’re seeing something that will not ever be made public beyond this show.
The Impact Of Podcasting
Number one, “In the past decade, there has been a gigantic boom in the podcast industry, with some of the biggest genres being comedy and lifestyle. Calling podcasting now ‘subculture’ would be an understatement. Why do you think podcasts become important or even sacred in a die-hard podcasting fans’ life?” I think that podcasting feels very intimate in a lot of ways. It depends on the type of show. Certainly, there are shows that feel very produced or almost like an audio version of a documentary, a television show or a movie. For the most part, I’ve perceived podcasts as giving you an inside look into somebody’s life or sharing information that is hard to find or not even available beyond that.
When I think back to my introduction to podcasts, I remember them when I was working at the Apple Store because Apple Podcasts have been a huge part of the podcast world. In fact, even the origin of the word podcast comes from the iPod and casting and sharing. I remember describing it back then, which would have been probably 2005 or 2006, the early days of me working for Apple. Podcasts back then seemed like free education. I remember feeling a bit in disbelief, like, “Why is this free?” There wasn’t anything else like that at the time. It was a foreign concept.
Audiobooks have been around for a while. Books on tape I remember when I was little, listening to audiobooks on DVDs and now you can download them through a device like your phone. That’s been around for a long time. Podcasts in the early days seem to be very centered around teaching you something. It was an amazing source of free information. Also, some colleges might’ve put classes or lectures on podcasts so it was this amazing opportunity to learn for free.
In 2005 or 2006, there wasn’t a ton of free information. There were a lot of blogs developing around that time and those were a little bit more opinionated but it felt like in the early days, it was like professionals putting together that educational info. That was very exciting. Then I started listening to podcasts around 2013. I remember one of the first shows that I listened to was called Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn, who I later have had the privilege of connecting with on a number of levels. I got into his show. I was a big fan. I listened to most episodes of that show back then because he structured the shows in a way that taught me something. I was simultaneously hearing about his journey. I related a lot to Pat. We both started our content creation careers around the same time either but somewhere between 2008 and 2010, the two of us were getting things going with blogging.
I loved learning from him and his guests about monetization. What drew me into that show and I think it’s still true today with a lot of shows is hearing the journey that you can relate to, hearing somebody that seems very similar to you discuss how their career has gone and the tips that they’ve learned along the way. It felt intimate in that sense because it isn’t like a book. Audiobooks are wonderful. I listen primarily to audiobooks. I rarely listened to podcasts believe it or not because I liked the structure of audiobooks. I feel like I can trust them. They’ve been edited in a deep written way. They have been polished.
However, I like the lack of polish that a lot of podcasts have. My show has always been centered around that authenticity, that unedited feeling, that connection, that I’m a real flawed human being who’s sharing the ups and downs of my life along with my guests. That is the feedback that I’ve received from others. That’s why podcasting has grown rapidly as it’s moved away from the polished aside from those exceptions of categories that are designed to be polished like a lot of the true-crime shows.
In my head, I think of them like Serial being one of the big breakout hits and one of the most successful podcasts that might have even driven the podcast industry because it also became bingeable. Part of what a lot of shows offer is that you can’t wait to listen to the next one. It’s very much like a TV show. The other category of podcasts being about people and their lives. It feels a lot like a YouTube blog series. This is probably why I’ve thrived here.
Something people said to me in the past when I was heavily focused on YouTube was people liked me and my life. They were interested in whatever I was doing. I felt the same way about a lot of YouTubers and probably would if I listened to podcasts more frequently. That’s become important because it connects people. Sometimes people don’t want to just sit down and watch a video. They just want to listen. What I like is if I’m driving for a while, if I’m on a road trip, I’m not going to watch a video because I’m watching the road. I’m listening, learning, feeling connected to someone I’m thinking about things. If I’m doing chores, household work, if I’m taking a long walk or something, those are times when I’m listening to something. It’s also a form of entertainment along the way. It distracts me from the mundane parts of life.
Being Comfortable With Podcasting
Second question, “As a self-proclaimed introvert is there something the presence of the microphone does that makes you more comfortable talking to hundreds of thousands of people?” These are great questions. This makes me happy because this person thought through and did some research on me but also gave great thoughts. I feel honored to have these. I do think that the microphone that makes me feel comfortable. Public speaking is a place where I thrive. I wouldn’t say I’m always comfortable with it. I get very nervous about live talks and live videos whether that’s in person or through a live stream.
I did a presentation that was live for a small group of people. I remember feeling nervous right before I started but I was also very excited about it. I felt that way speaking publicly to teaching, going back to my Apple Store history. For a huge chunk of my time at Apple, I taught classes and the stores that I’ve worked in had a podium with a big projector screen and a theater. People would come and listen to me, talk about usually a piece of software sometimes some hardware. I teach them and I thrived. I loved that. I don’t remember getting nervous about doing that. I felt very comfortable doing that and it was satisfying.When you connect with someone, and when you not only see their humanity but acknowledge it, they are most likely to give that back to you in return. Click To Tweet
Speaking on an actual stage at a live event always makes me nervous but deeply excited. I shine. I would like to pursue that more. It felt a bit intimidating to me as a career. Podcasting works for me because there’s the comfort of being at home where I record my shows. I’m sitting in front of a screen and not with an audience. That reduces a lot of my nerves. I know that my shows can be edited, although they’re very lightly edited, if at all. This show is the most edited out of any show that I do. The rest of my shows are not edited.
The introvert side of it is interesting too because part of my journey is trying to figure out, “Am I introverted or do I have anxiety?” The nerves are part of anxiety but sometimes nerves are connected to excitement. I don’t get anxious for the most part before I start recording unless I’m having a day where I’m filled with anxiety. I don’t get anxious unless I’m feeling like a time crunch, tired or I feel like I have to do it. There’s something about turning on my podcast set up and pressing record that lights me up like I was describing with the stage. To answer this question, it is more comfortable than being live virtually or in person. I feel more at ease but I don’t know if it’s quite an introverted thing.
It feels easier, less stressful and less pressure. Sometimes I get vulnerable, mostly towards the end of the recording. I start to second guess myself. I started to think, “Did I do a good job? Was it a bad episode? Is this going to be something people are interested in?” I start to doubt myself. Sometimes I feel a bit of imposter syndrome. Sometimes when I release an episode, I get nervous that I’m going to get bad feedback. I’ll sometimes get in my head, looking over numbers. That tends to hit me a lot.
It’s also a bit uncomfortable when I’m talking about my podcast to other people in person. I feel sometimes insecure about it. It’s interesting. There are a lot of ups and downs of the podcasting experience that are not just limited to the recording. I wouldn’t say that my introversion plays a huge role. Another example of where it might be when Jason was co-hosting the show with me, my introversion got triggered because when I’m around an extrovert like him, I tend to become very quiet.
Once Jason left the show, I had to step into a different role as the only host of the show. When I have a guest on, I find myself more energetic and confident because I have to be. When it was Jason, there were times when I would want him to take the lead. You might have noticed if you were reading the episodes back then that I might not say very much in a guest episode. Jason would do a lot of the talking.
It’s been interesting noticing how it has very been very circumstantial. It depends a lot. There are also times with certain guests that I feel a bit intimidated. Maybe they make me a little bit nervous. It takes me some time to get into my rhythm. Much like speaking on an actual stage or live audience online, the beginning feels a bit awkward to me but then once I get into my flow, everything melts away and I don’t feel introverted at all.
From Boston To New York
Question number three, “As someone who has spent a lot of time in both Boston and New York, what’s something business-wise, you wish you could take from each city and give to the other?” I don’t know if this question is about New York and Boston. I’m going to answer it that way and then maybe I’ll also add on the Los Angeles experience. I grew up in Massachusetts. Boston has a very special place in my heart. There is a lot of nostalgia for being a little girl going into the city and then deciding to go to a college in the city. It certainly feels special to me. Business-wise, it feels a little on the corporate and rigid side. Boston feels a little bit cold. It certainly has a nice sweet feeling to it.
When I was in college, it felt very safe. When I visit, it feels a little bit intimate. On the business side, considering both my parents used to work in Boston, I always got the impression that it was a bit traditional. When I went to Emerson, I saw a lot of the artistic side of it with the theater. The theater element of Boston feels present but nowhere near what it does in Los Angeles or mostly in New York on the theater side. That’s why I felt eager to go to a different city. In fact, this question is very relevant because I want to go to New York City. Before I went to Emerson, I wanted to go to NYU, New York University, specifically the Tisch School of Arts because I had it in my head that if I went to that school, I would be a successful filmmaker. I later found out that was not true.
New York had this different feeling especially from an artistic expression that I’ve never quite felt in Boston. There is a buzz and energy to New York. There is something that drew out and still does to this day whenever I visit. It’s almost like a poetic and passionate side of me. This is why a lot of creative types thrive in New York versus I don’t feel like I know a lot of people who are like, “I’m going to go to Boston and become a filmmaker. I’m going to go to Boston and be a star on stage.” That is usually attributed to New York and Los Angeles. It makes sense that those have felt that way.
If I were to take from each city and give to another, I would want New York to feel a little bit more intimate, a little less competitive and much safer. I’m recording on April 13, 2022. It was yesterday that there was an awful incident on the subway in New York City, that is super unsettling. A lot of people started talking about how unsafe New York has felt and that’s sad. That is an element that I appreciate about Boston. What I would add to Boston from New York City is more buzz, more fluidity, more creativity, more inspiration and less of a rigid corporate feel. Both cities feel cold in their own way.
Maybe that’s because I live in Southern California which feels very warm on a number of levels, not just the weather. Boston and New York, in the summer and spring, don’t feel quite as cold but it’s cold in a sense that people are not as warm or welcoming. Whereas in LA, everybody just seems very friendly. There’s competition here but it’s a different feeling of competitiveness that I’ve noticed or experienced in New York City. If I were to take elements of New York City and Boston and bring that to LA, certainly the subways would be nice. We don’t have that culture here in LA. All the driving around can feel frustrating, although driving in New York City and Boston is not very pleasant. It’s a little different.
I would take away the chaos of New York City, which I don’t feel in Los Angeles. Los Angeles feels more at a nice pace. It has elements of chaos but not nearly to that extreme. I like the theater side of New York. That feels special even though that’s not part of my work. I would like to see more theatrical elements. LA does have some phenomenal theaters and I’ve been to only a few of them. I feel like it’s not the same in New York. When you go to Broadway or off-Broadway, it feels different. It’s hard to even describe. You don’t quite get that here in LA.Psychology ends up playing a role in everything you do. Click To Tweet
The Unrecognized Benefit Of Being The Teacher’s Pet
The fourth question and this is a very specific one, “In the episode, Social Acceptance, Introversion And Being A Wonder Junkie, you say you were voted teacher’s pet in high school and continued your academic routine in college even in yoga class. What’s an unrecognized benefit of being a teacher’s pet. Does it still help you?” I love these questions. This person could like become an incredible interviewer. Maybe that’s what they’re thinking about for podcasting. I almost want to hire this person to come up with questions for my guests.
The teacher’s pet thing. I was thinking about how it’s possible I became a teacher’s pet because later in high school and throughout college, I would sit in the front row of class for the most part. That developed out of my realization that I could focus more when I didn’t have the distraction of other students sitting in front of me. It also allowed me to connect with the teacher more. I noticed this in college. I have vivid memories of studying in the front row and getting to know my teacher. Depending on the class, that was a huge advantage. When I got to know the teacher, they would give me special attention and help me out more.
I had certain teachers that I felt were invested in me succeeding in class. When it came to assignments, tests or big projects, we already had a rapport. I could ask them questions and succeed more. Some of that is because of my neurodivergence and struggle with learning. The focus side of things worked much better in me getting better grades. I was also able to understand information better because I was focused, I was making eye contact with my teacher and I could turn to them for help when I didn’t understand things.
Sitting in the back of certain classes, depending on the class size, might be distracting because people might talk, fall asleep or be distracted themselves. I would get distracted by their distraction. That connection has always been what I’ve been after and being present has worked. If I were to translate that over to podcasting, connecting with someone, making eye contact with them, focusing on them and showing your interest in them, they respond to you differently. I certainly noticed this with teachers. When you’re a student, you’ve no conception of what a teacher goes through.
You’re wrapped up in your own life especially in high school, when your hormones are raging. In college too, you feel confused all over the place. College is rough emotionally. You lose sight of the humanity of a teacher. Over time, I’ve recognized that when you connect with someone and not only see their humanity but acknowledge it, they are most likely to give that back to you in return. On podcasting, many guests have told me that I treat them differently than other podcast hosts do, which is a bit surprising. What happens similar to school is people tend to get very transactional. It’s like, “I’m going to this class, I’m going to show up on time. I’m going to submit my assignments then I’m going to move on with the rest of my life.”
When I got into my “teacher’s pet mode,” I was able to be very present about what was happening then. Not just see it as a class or as a teacher but honor it for the value it had in my life. I was able to get more information out of it, understand it on a deeper level and also give gratitude to that person much as I would with a podcast guest. When I’m very present to a podcast guest, I ask better questions, much like these interview questions. The person who sent me these questions is doing their research. They’ve seen me. That makes me feel better and want to give very quality answers. Like podcast guests, when I’m asking them questions that are deep, rich, connected to them and I’ve shown that I value them, they’re more likely to add more value to the show.
They’re more likely to connect with me as a human being. When you connect with someone as human beings in a very present way, it enriches the entire conversation. At school, I don’t even think I realized that that was happening aside from the fact I knew there was an advantage to getting the teacher to like me. Sometimes they would even just give me special attention. I would see them notice me and light up when I walked into the room and they would say my name. I’ve always liked special attention. I don’t know if that’s an ego thing or a neurodivergent thing where I get that dopamine hit from feeling special. That was part of the reason I became a teacher’s pet.
Mostly, I would guess that happened out of a strategy like, “I’ll get better grades if my teacher likes me because then I can talk to them, connect with them and understand them better. If I need any special help, they will be more willing to provide it to me because they know that I care.” The care side of things has been a big advantage across all of my work.
The Impact Of Psychology
The fifth question, “Having a passion for Psychology and minoring in it in college, credited to your Psychology teacher in class in high school. Are there any other psychologists or psychology theories that you incorporate into your life.” For context, yes. I had a phenomenal Psychology teacher when I was in high school. Her name was Ms. Karen Deneen. She was this wonderful, smart woman, funny and sarcastic. I loved the way that she interacted with the class. I felt like everybody in there was on the edge of their seat because she put her personality into her teachings. I started to become very enthusiastic and interested in Psychology because of her.
I don’t remember being interested in it before. It was just like a class you had to take in high school. That led me to minor at Emerson College, which was a weird minor to have because Emerson is a very artistic school. I don’t even remember how I decided to minor in it. I wanted to continue my Psychology education. In terms of this question, have I added that into my life? Yes. My work and passion for mental health and wellbeing are certainly influenced by psychology? What does psychologists do? They help people with their mental health and navigate their wellbeing.
Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like for me if I had pursued a career as a psychologist. I certainly think I would enjoy it but the elements of making content and creating things continue to be a huge part of my life. I can merge the two together as mental health and wellbeing-focused podcast host. That work has continued and been a thread through in my life. In that, my Beyond Measure community is centered around wellbeing and mental health. My work in Web3 is becoming a niche in wellbeing. It’s very needed in that space. That’s probably going to be a huge part of my work.
My work in social media has also been deeply influenced because not only maintaining mental health and wellbeing using social media personally while using it professionally but also understanding psychology is a phenomenal marketing strategy. When you understand human beings and their behavior, you’re better able to communicate with them and tell them about your products and services. Psychology ends up playing a role in everything that I do. I have been considering taking a wellbeing coaching certification, not only to get that certified badge or whatever certification but to better understand people so I can better communicate as a podcaster and a content creator, better support clients as a coach and better understand what people need when it comes to marketing.Structure has its place and benefits. Click To Tweet
The Hardest Podcast
This next question is a hard one, “What’s the hardest podcast you’ve ever done?” The first one that comes to mind is the episode I did announce that Jason had left the show. Mostly because I was scared of how people were going to respond. I didn’t really know what to say. I didn’t know how I wanted to talk about it. I was nervous that listeners would abandon the show. I don’t even really know if that happened or not. It’s been interesting observing the months since he left. That comes to mind, there have certainly been other shows where I’ve felt vulnerable and unsure about it.
Another one that was challenging was when I talked about being called out for cultural appropriation. A person saw my cookbook about the vegan keto way of eating. They said that they decided not to buy the cookbook because I had a recipe in there. It is called the Buddha Bowl. For reference, for context, I did not name that recipe or write it because my book was done in partnership with Nicole Derseweh, my friend and a wonderful chef. It was interesting to get that feedback because it was directed at me and not Nicole. I felt bad. I had never thought about the name of a recipe being cultural appropriation.
It was a great education for me. It was very humbling. I felt a bit uncomfortable talking about it but it ended up teaching me a lot. I don’t know if it was the hardest but it was definitely up there. I’m trying to think of any guest episodes that are hard. Most of those are the solo episodes like this one I do myself. I might end up coming up with another answer but if I had to pick one in recent memory is that one with Jason?
The Appeal Of Helping People
Three more questions left, “It seems like helping people and talking about the business aspect and people’s lives are as important as a healthy and joyful lifestyle. What is it about helping get people’s lives back on track that is appealing to you?” Business plays a huge role in my work. That’s the majority of my work. I used to focus on healthy eating and healthy living. The word healthy is not one I use very much unless it’s like mental health. Over time, health has started to mean different things to me than it did in the beginning. Going back to cultural appropriation, another thing that I’ve learned is the racism embedded in the wellness world, given that it’s been dominated by White people. There’s a lot of messaging that does not incorporate marginalized people. There’s a lot of privilege built into wellness and health.
I don’t want to be part of that anymore. There is a lot of misinformation, in my opinion. There’s a lot of infighting and people disagreeing. There’s a lot of tension, argument and unity that I felt in the health and wellness world. There’s also a lot of it that does not feel authentic in the sense that it feels like it’s become such a big business that has been influenced by capitalism. A lot of the work I was doing was inadvertently part of that. I wanted to be a full-time content creator. I did a lot of sponsorships, affiliations and partnerships. They weren’t always in deep alignment with who I was.
While I was working on all of that, I learned a ton about marketing entrepreneurship monetization. Around 2014, I started helping more people with it. I had been supporting people with social media since about 2010. A lot of business owners would come to me for help with that. In 2014, there was a shift in which I realized how many people needed support with monetizing their work. I started teaching others about sponsorships, affiliate programs, products and all the things that I was doing. I became very interested in that. I started getting more focused on social media.
Now that I’m doing my work in Web3, which is a bit business influenced and there’s this whole terminology for the creator economy, that is where my focus has been. I end up either supporting people one-on-one, doing training with people and working with businesses. The reason it appeals so much to me is because it’s like a skillset and a knowledge base for me that I can help people with and I can infuse the messaging of wellbeing along the way. In 2021, it occurred to me that I would feel best talking about social media when there’s a mental health angle to it.
In July 2021, I did a talk at a business event. I added in the wellbeing messaging because I’ve realized a lot of people get so focused on making money and being successful that they are willing to compromise their physical and mental health. They stopped sleeping a lot. They don’t get enough sleep, can’t sleep and don’t get rest. That’s a huge issue. They may not be eating well for their body and thus not feeling that great, loaded up on caffeine or super stressed and anxious. The stories that I’ve heard from people when it comes to social media, content creation and business are a bit horrifying and it ties into a lot of that capitalism mentality of doing whatever it takes, even if it sacrifices your own wellbeing and that of other people.
As another example, I was talking with a friend about Amy’s Kitchen who is being boycotted by a lot of people because of the way that they’ve treated their workers. I was reflecting on how sad it is that a company like that has made it easy for people to eat vegan or organic and however they define health. You can go and grab a can of their soup or their frozen food and feel like you’re eating well because it’s affordable and accessible. To hear that a company like that has had a lot of internal issues that don’t fall into the ethics of someone like me who wants people to be treated fairly and equally, that’s upsetting.
Why does that happen? It’s a complicated matter. Generally, money becomes more important than health, wellbeing and equality. People are being treated fairly. I certainly don’t want to support a business like that. A lot of my work is becoming more rooted in combining health and business, mental health and business, wellbeing and business and finding ways to stay balanced and keep things equitable. That’s why business has continued to be appealing to me and has evolved over time to become a big priority.
What I Would Change About Podcasting
Second to the last question, “What’s one thing you wish you could change about podcasting?” Podcasting feels a bit all over the place. That’s the simplest way for me to describe it. First of all, it’s tough to look at analytics. The analytics options for podcasting are a bit limited but they’re getting better. I wouldn’t say that’s a big priority because they already see progress happening there. It feels all over the place in that anybody can start a podcast, which is great but there’s not a lot of structure. There are a lot of different options. It seems like everybody’s doing it a bit differently. It feels disjointed. The same is true for most social media and content. It’s very similar to YouTube, for example. Anybody can start a YouTube channel. However, I feel like YouTube still has a lot of like guidance. That’s probably because YouTube is a platform.
It’s similar to TikTok. Anybody can start a TikTok or can be a content creator but TikTok has best practices. In podcasting, there’s not one dominant platform. There are platforms where you might listen like Apple Podcasts and Spotify but they are not necessarily guiding you towards how you do a show because generally, that would be done through either a production company or a podcast host. I would be willing to guess that the majority of podcasters out there just pick a host that’s the least expensive or free and they do their show. They make it up as they go along and they distribute it to these platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.A podcast is nothing without listeners. Click To Tweet
Because of that, it can feel messy. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes podcasts get a bad rap for that. I’m one of those people that I think structure has its place and benefits. I would like to see a little bit more structure with podcasting, as long as nobody gets left out, it’s still accessible and people still feel like they can do it too. That’s an important part of content creation in general and definitely with podcasting. That structure helps on both end and the listener. The structure also helps the creator. A lot of podcasts do something called podfading, which means somewhere between 7 to 20 episodes, they’ll give up and never produce another episode. It’s very common. I don’t know what the percentage is off the top of my head. It’s hard to go beyond twenty episodes of a show without giving up on it.
Part of that is because there’s not a lot of structure. The analytics are all over the place. It’s hard to monetize for some people. They don’t a lot of feedback. The other thing I would add and maybe I would change my answer to say, I wish that there were easier ways for people to participate. I love input. I love making things feel participatory. Live podcasting may grow in popularity as a result of that so that listeners feel like they’re part of the show. It feels a little weird for me to sit here and talk the whole time without you responding. It would be needed in the future if there was more of a back and forth dialogue and that listeners felt empowered and valuable because you truly are. A podcast is nothing without listeners.
Speaking of Web3 with things like cryptocurrency, NFTs and all of that, what a lot of podcasters are working on is that community development in which you can be part of the ownership of something like a podcast. Meaning that you can buy into it and get benefits. It’s similar to Patreon, which a lot of podcasters use. In the cryptocurrency and NFT world, you’ll have a bigger stake and be rewarded for it financially with perks and with influence. That’s already changing and that’s very exciting.
Last question. This is the easiest one for me because I could talk about this all day. The trouble is making it succinct, “Any advice for someone wanting to start a podcast?” In fact, I am doing a program to be a certified podcast strategist. This is happening through the company that I work with. One of my clients is called Podetize.
Podetize does the show. Meaning that after I finished recording it, I submit it to their team. They edit the episodes and make the show notes that you see. Not quite on my end but they do help with social media if I wanted it. They’re responsible for getting the show up and running and optimizing it. They launched a strategist program that I’ve been taking. I’ve learned so much about helping other people with their podcasts. I’ve been on the side casually, helping friends and sometimes podcasts guests with their show. People started hiring me. I have 2 going on 3 shows that I’ve been hired for. One is called The Live eCommerce Podcast for my client eStreamly. The other is called Essentia: Rise & Thrive. We’re working on season two of that show.
I’m not going to tell you what the third one is but I’ll give you a little hint. This is something related to Web3. I am in the process of figuring out whether or not I’m going to do a show with this other company. All that to say, I’ve been getting passionate about helping people with a podcast. I want to make it simple. Generally, it comes down to thinking about what you want to talk about, why and how can you set yourself up for success so you won’t podfade and you won’t give up after 7, 10 or 20 episodes?
The question of why I think is the starting point for this. It’s not whether or not you have something valuable to say because I’m sure you do. Everybody has something of value to share, even if it’s something that other people are talking about. A lot of shows talk about mental health and wellbeing but they’re not me. It comes down to you as a person. If you’re a host, people listen for your personality. The information you share and the guests that you have are key. Maybe you don’t listen to me. Maybe you listen because what I say is valuable to you but you probably wouldn’t be able to make it through a one-hour-long episode if you didn’t like the sound of my voice or the way that I talk, my pacing and whatever else.
I lose people as a result of it but that’s okay. You are at the core of your show. You are what makes it unique and different. Your why is what’s going to keep you going. Podcasting can feel a little bit all over the place. It can be tough. Sometimes you’re going to second guess yourself, you’re going to feel like an imposter or frustrated. If you’re doing it for money, it’s generally not the best idea because money is not always easy to control. As I pointed out in this episode, money has the ability to corrupt you and make you make decisions that may not be in alignment with your true purpose.
If you can figure out what is it about podcasting that appeals to you and why do you think that you could commit to this because podcasting to be successful takes consistency. It takes making room in your schedule. I have to show up every week to record. I have to prepare things in advance. There’s a lot that goes into equipment, which can be expensive. Hosting costs money. If you want an editor like I have, that costs money. Do you have the financial setup for that? Do you want to monetize it in a way that pays for those things?
You can also do podcasting on a very limited budget. There are free hosting services. I don’t always recommend them but they do exist. You probably already have a microphone. In fact, a lot of podcasters use either the wired headphones that come with their phone like the iPhone or AirPods are a very common microphone and headphone combo that people use. There are also some cons to that but they’re good enough to get started. If you want a microphone similar to the one that I’m using, they start sometimes as low as $20 or $30.
Equipment is the next step. If you figure out why you want to do and what you want to say then you figure out what equipment you already have. Is that going to suffice or do you want to spend a little bit of money then you need to decide on a host. Podetize has hosting services. Because I’ve had such an amazing experience with them, they are the number one service that I recommend for hosting, editing and all that. You might want to use a platform like Zencastr. I mentioned in the past if you’ve read to episodes between January and March 2022. Zencastr sponsored the show and I love them. I have a discount code for them.
If you use the code WELLEVATR, you get a discount on their paid plan but you can use Zencastr for free. It’s wonderful. Equipment software like Zencastr, you could also use software built into your computer if you’re not recording with guests. There are a lot of nuances when it comes to starting. You do have to make some decisions. At some point, we develop either a training video or a free PDF or something. If that’s something you’re interested in, I’m happy to share. I also have a blog post on Wellevatr.com.To be successful, it takes consistency. Click To Tweet
Years ago, Jason and I wrote a basic overview of how to get started. If you want some more info and suggestions on equipment and hosting, it all comes down to Podetize for me but there are a few other options. That’s been my world. I want to use this opportunity to share with you. I’d be happy to help and not necessarily on a paid level. If you have some basic questions, I’m happy to give you some free advice. I have noticed after going through the strategist program and doing some calls with friends, that it’s not super simple if you’re going to take it super seriously. If you’re exploring it as a hobby, you could start up a podcast fairly quickly inexpensively but if you do want to pursue this on a level as I have, there are a lot of things to learn.
What I’m working on is simplifying it so that the steps do not feel super intimidating. For me, there were two major things that guided me when I first got started. There are two people in the very beginning. This was the first podcast I did was in 2015 called Real Influencers. I wish I had kept going with that show. It’s one of my regrets. I use Pat Flynn. I don’t know if he still has it but he had a great guide on podcasting that was free. It might still exist out there. I’m sure he has other courses that are paid. He has an amazing private community where you can get in. It’s an investment because it’s very much about entrepreneurship. You’re going to get high-level guidance there.
In 2015, John Lee Dumas, who has the podcast Entrepreneur On Fire is one of the top podcasts that I’ve ever come across. He had a free guide. Those two people were helpful. I figured out the basics from them. Podetize has been incredible. The advantage of Podetize is if you have the money to pay for it is incredible coaching. Their hosting plan comes with their coaching services. If you go to Podetize.com, you can check it all out. You can always ask me a question. Even though they’re a client of mine, I will do my best to give you unbiased information about them. I always want to disclose that I love them on so many levels. I can’t help but be biased towards them. If you can find a checklist, a guide that brings you through it step-by-step, that’s the best place to start. Know that you can do this. Know that I started with nothing. In 2015, it was me and my friend Coby.
I had bought a Blue Yeti microphone, a popular mic and we just figured it out along the way. When Jason and I started this show in 2019, I felt like I was starting over because Real Influencers only lasted a few months. We podfaded. I know they know what that term means. Jason and I might’ve even started recording in 2018. We tapped into our why and experimented. If you listened to the first few episodes of the show, I was still using my blue Yeti. It took a while. Then when we started working with Podetize, we each got audio Technica microphones, which you might’ve seen me using if you’re watching the videos there. They had a rectangular shape on the top that said This Might Get Uncomfortable.
It’s one thing that Podetize will give you if you become a client of theirs. I graduated to this mic. These microphones have represented the evolution of my journey. I got into the world and started learning, connecting with people, studying and practicing and ultimately, that would shape all of my advice. To make a concise answer to this question is to figure out why you want to do this. Set a schedule for yourself and commit to recording twenty episodes. Even if it takes you twenty weeks to get through it, put it on your calendar, come up with a schedule and record those episodes. Ideally, record as many as you can in the beginning when you’re excited.
You might want to do five episodes in the first week or two to get out the excitement and get that momentum. Then you figure out all the details of what hosts you’re going to use, which is the most important question. Once you made that decision, put out those episodes into the world and stay in that experimental mindset, look at it as something that you’re figuring out as you go along and always stay rooted in your why. That is the absolute best advice I could give because it is a journey. It has lots of ups and downs like any other type of content. If you stick with it, it has got amazing rewards.
This isn’t something that I was asked but I’ll add this as a bonus. Podcasting has taught me a lot about myself because I talk about myself. It has connected me to incredible guests. The people I meet are unbelievable. I hope you feel the same way but I’m constantly meeting new people because I have a new guest every week on this show and I have since the very beginning. This show launched in December 2019 but our very first guest was in August 2019. It’s coming up pretty quickly on three years of guest recordings for every single week. That exposes you to a lot of people. That’s probably my favorite part of all of this.
I’ve also had sponsors. That’s been nice. I’ve got clients. People have hired me for social media consulting. That’s how Podetize became my client is because of the show. Because I put the show on their platform, the founder got to know me and she said, “You’re good at social media. Will you help us?” I’ve been working with them for years. They’ve just been an amazing client. eStreamly, I can’t remember if that came out of podcasting or not but I would do their podcasts. Essentia is one of my favorite companies of all time. All these cool opportunities I’ve had is because I’ve learned how to be a podcaster. If any of those things appeal to you, it’s worth it.
None of us have any idea what’s going to happen in the future. Podcasting could become irrelevant in five years and that’s okay because it will evolve somehow. Even in the worst-case scenario, if all of this podcasting experience does not lead to anything in my career, I can tell you with full certainty and confidence that I’ve enjoyed it. That’s what keeps me going. I just enjoy it. It suits me. I like talking, meeting people and connecting with you. That’s what keeps me going. No matter what happens with my podcasting work, I have felt joy. That’s a good note to end on. Thank you for reading and immensely to this person who asked these wonderful questions. I am thrilled to be able to give back to other students at Emerson, which was such a wonderful educational experience for me. I will be back with another episode soon.
Behind the scenes, I have needed to book a big chunk of guests before I go on my next road trip, which is coming up soon from the date that this episode comes out. I will be leaving for my road trip. This episode comes out on April 25, 2022. I leave it in early May to go on this big road trip. I’ve needed to book a bunch of guests to accommodate my travel schedule. I have five guests all lined up and they are all so interesting and unique.
I’ve been trying to get a true diversity of guests. That’s something I strive for. It’s not always easy, to be honest. I’m not going to go on a whole tangent about this side of things but I could probably do a whole episode on working with guests. I’m always thinking about podcasts. I want to make sure that I’m learning from them and you are too. We’re both feeling inspired. The next guests are truly wonderful. In fact, we’re working on a special project that I’m starting. After we finished recording our episode, we came up with an idea of something else to do together.
I’m not going to tell you what it is yet because it’s just in the beginning brainstorming phases but I’m excited about the possibilities of it. Stay tuned. I’ll definitely announce that in the newsletter if you haven’t signed up for that yet. That’s a great way to find out what I’m working on, and what episodes are coming out and stay in the loop. You can subscribe to that over on the podcast page at Wellevatr.com. I’ll make that announcement as soon as that happens. It’s probably going to be part of the Beyond Measure community.
If you do want to join, it’s currently free. I am working on a paid element of that whether that’s going to be for everybody or some members. That’s very likely to happen in the future. I just don’t know when. Get in free while you can if you want to just it out of curiosity. It’s also at WhitneyLauritsen.com. That’s it for this episode. I’m wishing you all the very best with your life or wherever that goes in the next few days.
- Adam Garrett-Clark
- Third episode – previous episode
- Smart Passive Income
- The Live eCommerce Podcast
- Essentia: Rise & Thrive
- Real Influencers
- Entrepreneur On Fire
- Beyond Measure
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the This Might Get Uncomfortable community today: