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How to Survive and Thrive During Your First Year as a Podcaster
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Making it as a podcaster takes more than many people wanting to get into the game realize. To prove this point, I’m going to jump straight into some stats that may surprise you.
But, here’s what “they” don’t tell you about these 2.5 million shows… Less than 650k of them are actively producing episodes. And to be considered a consistent podcaster, it would mean reaching 50 episodes or one year. Guess how many people make it?
Less than 220k! ? That’s right, only 10% of podcasters make it to the 12-month mark. That’s scary, huh?
You have less than a 10% chance of making it through your first year as a podcaster.
I’d love to pull a line from the Hunger Games here, “May the odds be ever in your favor,” but they are not in your favor at all!
Recommended Reading: 5 Things New Podcasters Need to Know
Now that we’re all depressed and feeling defeated, I want to share how you can not only survive during your first year as a podcaster but also thrive! Because it truly can be done!
5 Ways to Survive and Thrive During Your First Year as a Podcaster:
Since 2017, I’ve learned 5 main ways to really make it as a professional podcaster throughout my journey as a podcast. I’m going to break down those 5 things for you in this blog post.
#1. Know your why.
Everyone’s why for podcasting will be different. But the one warning I’ll give you is this, “quitting my job” or “making money” is not a good enough why. You’ll surely fall into the 90% that fail at podcasting with the first year if this is as deep as your why goes.
Those who succeed have a deep why, a real reason for starting their show that truly serves their world. You need this! ?
Suppose you don’t have a strong why I encourage you to get alone with a pen and some paper to think about this. Really dig deep to discover why you’re doing this. (You may even learn that you shouldn’t be doing a podcast, and that’s perfectly fine!)
Your why can be ANYTHING, but just make sure it’s strong enough to keep you going. One why that doesn’t work: to make money. If that’s your purpose in podcasting, you’re going to end up broke and overworked.
#2. Map out your first or next 12 months.
Figure out what you want your listeners to have learned by sticking with you for the last 12 months. What do you want them to have learned? Think about some key takeaways that you want to make sure they learn and gain from you.
Also, think strategically about your content. I don’t mean to have every week figured out, but have an idea for key episodes and show direction over 12 months.
“Unspecific goals lead to unspecific results”
The point here is simple, have a plan! Know where you want to be in 12 months from now.
#3. Build an SOP for your episodes.
SOP = Standard Operating Procedure. You need to have a standard set of instructions covering everything from A to Z that you do for every episode. From searching for a guest, recording the episode, editing, sharing repurposed content on social media, and everything in between!
Once you know all of this, figure out how much time it takes to produce an episode, from start to finish. This way, you know how much time you’re spending on your podcast every week/month.
? SOLUTION: If you’re looking for a software solution that helps handle this, go to PodcastSOP.com, it’ll help you stay on track and always have a plan!
#4. Automate, Delegate, and Eliminate everything you can.
This is where most people get stuck. Instead of thinking about who or how something can get done, we (as podcast hosts) get stuck in a single-track mind of “all the things I have to get done.”
Here are some example questions:
- Can your content get automatically published to social media using a tool?
- Can you delegate things like editing or creating blog posts?
- And the most important question: what can you eliminate.
I find that most early podcasters bite off way too much. They start doing “all the things” because that’s what everyone else is doing.
I want you to remember that YOU STARTED A PODCAST TO START A PODCAST, not to start a YouTube channel, a TikTok, an IG reels business, not a Clubhouse room. You need to keep the main thing the main thing!
Right now, I am giving you permission to stop any of these things that are taking your time away from doing what matters most.
If we revisit the old 80/20 rule, which stays that 80% of the results are driven by 20% of our efforts, our job as podcasters is to figure out the one thing driving those results, then Automate, Delegate, and Eliminate anything that isn’t that.
#5. Meet your listeners and get feedback from them.
I call this last point “doing things that don’t scale.” You won’t always be able to connect with your listeners on an individual basis at scale, but it certainly is something you can do when you launch.
The key here is to connect one on one with your listeners and to ask them these 4 questions:
- How did you hear about my podcast?
- What do you like about the show?
- What don’t you like about it?
- What’s your biggest struggle right now?
As you get answers from your listeners, adapt and adjust your podcast. Improve it and offer solutions to them based on the problems they are having. By doing this, you are further defining your avatar and the problems they face. And the best businesses are built from solving a problem for someone you care about.
I have a lot to say on this last point, but I encourage you to check out this podcast episode shared on this topic: How to Create Your Ideal Customer Avatar with John Lee Dumas
? If you’ve made it through your first 12 months as a podcaster, what’s a 6th point you’d add to this post to help newer podcasters on their journey?