In the summer of 2020, I launched the first podcast that was truly my own.
I’d spent the previous 4 years hemming and hawing about starting a show and had started the development phase of at least a half dozen shows.
For many of these, I’d got as far as mapping out episode topics, brainstorming guests, and designing cover art but had never been able to light the fuse and launch any of them into the world.
As a producer for dozens of client shows, I knew how much work went into producing a podcast on a week-to-week basis, and I was never quite sure enough about any of my ideas to commit to them for the long haul.
Finally, however, on September 8, 2020 I officially launched one of my ideas, Build A Better Wellness Biz.
I didn’t have a personal stake in the wellness space, but most of our production clients at Counterweight Creative at the time were wellness experts and practitioners.
Taking my own advice about the importance of niching to heart, I leaned in and started creating content in the space, hoping to attract more people like our existing clients.
The decision was purely strategic: To achieve x, create y.
I approached it the same way I would help a client develop a show to generate leads and build an audience of superfans for their business.
And the strategy proved solid.
Within a few episodes, the show had gained a small but engaged audience of around 50 subscribers.
Knowing how hard it can be for podcasters to get engagement from their audiences early on, I was grateful to almost immediately beginning to receive a weekly stream of emails consisting of praise and encouragement from listeners, sharing how the episodes were impacting them and their businesses.
Despite the positive feedback, however, after 6 months and 30 episodes, I decided to end the show.
The podcast had all the signals of progress that indicated that if I kept going the way I was, the show would be successful.
But there was a problem.
Build A Better Wellness Biz wasn’t the podcast I really wanted to make.
Even with the support of my team, the show was taking me 15 hours a week to produce. And despite my certainty that the show would lead to more clients and more customers if I kept with it, over time, it began to feel like a chore.
Once I acknowledged this feeling, the writing was on the wall. I finished producing the episodes, recorded a final episode explaining why I was ending the show, and put it to rest.
I share this with you because while podcasting has tremendous upside, growing a show effectively requires real work.
Going in, I thought that the business results from the podcast would be enough to keep me motivated. And they might have been.
What I realize now, however, is that motivation isn’t enough.
To produce a show capable of growing, you need more than motivation. You need excitement.
Not for every single part of the process, but about the idea behind the show, the impact you seek to make, and the people you seek to serve.
This excitement can only be achieved by starting from the place of making the show you want to make.
Yes, you can (and should) play with the format, strategy, and style in order to better resonate with your target audience, but the idea at the core of the show, the foundation upon which everything else is built needs to be something you’re not just willing, but excited to dedicate the next few years to exploring, even if the results don’t come as quickly as you’d like.
So my question to you is this:
What’s the show that you’d be excited to spend the next 5 years creating, even if you never got a single listener?
Is that the show you’re already producing?
And if not, how can you bring the two into alignment?