My first attempt at audio broadcasting started with an online radio station on BlogTalk radio in 2014. I thought having a radio station was cool. But I also thought it was the best way to reach the single moms who are my target audience.
I found the online radio process of moving from setup to actual broadcasting convoluted. Fortunately, I discovered podcasting from John Lee Dumas’ Podcast Launch.
It took me a while to pivot to podcasting because fear held me back from telling my story to the world. What I learned after a year, have me wishing I had started sooner.
1. It was easier than I thought
Setting up and starting a podcast was much easier than I thought. It helped that I had spent some time learning from pros like John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Cliff Ravenscraft, and Johnathan Milligan. The five years I spent procrastinating wasn’t a total waste. I learned a lot. I also shared a lot of what I’ve learned with others.
Having many sources of referrals made the process of finding guests much easier as well. I received guest referrals from contacts such as Richard Mireles, host of the The Prison Post Podcast. I also met potential guests from some of my Facebook groups. Poddit, where I connected with Eugenie Burton, is a great resource for connecting with guests. So is Matchmaker.fm, where I discovered Murielle Fellouse.
Thanks to friends, family, and some valuable online resources, my first year of podcasting was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
2. It was much harder than I thought
I know I said in #1 that it was easier than I thought. But some aspects of podcasting were hard for me too. I didn’t realize how fear would tamper with the excitement I felt for doing the show.
The podcast is about solo moms telling their stories. That included me telling my story, especially my journey as a solo mom. But it has been difficult for me to put my feelings out there. Not that I’m backing down. If I expect other moms to be vulnerable and tell their stories, then I should step up and tell mine too. I need to be brave. But it has been hard.
The race is not for the swift nor the battle for the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. ~~Ecclesiastes 9:11
Imposter syndrome has been my constant companion from the time I got the idea to start a podcast. Fear of failure and fear of exposing myself to strangers threaten to kill the dream.
The other thing I find difficult to do is editing the episodes. Editing is not my forte. I‘m doing it out of necessity. My podcast is not a moneymaker, but it takes money to establish and maintain.
Also, I want the person who edits the episodes to empathize with my guests. I’m not concerned about professionalism to an extent, since it’s not a business podcast. But I want the emotions of each guest to reflect in the interviews. I don’t want the episodes polished. Yet, I do want a professional product.
Ergo my angst. To find someone with the technical skills to do a good job editing, who also possesses the ability to empathize with mothers.
There’s also the issue of paying for editing. I’ve supported my show out of pocket. But if I want to continue to grow, thereby serving more solo moms, I will need to find ways to monetize.
3. There’s satisfaction in connecting with guests globally
It is enriching to connect with solo moms all over the world. It’s fulfilling to talk to moms who have such diverse backgrounds as well. So is creating and building relationships before and after an interview goes live. It is a blessing to connect with these beautiful moms who have touched my life in such pleasant ways.
The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion. ~~ Terry Orlick
Connecting with professionals who are not solo moms also has its rewards.
For example, I recently interviewed Kelly Radi of raditowrite.com. Kelly is a speaker and coach. She in-turn, added me to her list of #RealLifeWonderWoman. I answered her questions about myself, which she posted on her blog. That put me among the ranks of some very special women. The experience is both humbling and encouraging.
I’m very grateful to Kelly for including me in her group. Click this link to see my answers.
4. There are many moving parts
Putting together a podcast is time-consuming. There are many things to consider, like choosing which basic equipment to start or podcast host to use. You also have to know how to set up an iTunes account and how to format your podcast cover art. And that’s just the beginning.
The process of creating and launching a podcast can be daunting. PowerUp Podcasting by Pat Flynn was a great help in getting it done. From sound leveling to creating show notes, Pat explains the process in detail. He drills down so that you can learn to create a podcast no matter how inexperienced you are.
5. Lots of help is available
One resource available to students of the PowerUp course is Pat’s weekly office hours. It’s fun to be able to get answers to my questions directly. I also can hear the questions other participants ask and get the benefit of the answers they receive as well.
John Lee Dumas’ Podcasters Paradise has been helpful also. With my membership came a podcast journal that allowed me to plan and track my podcast launch. You can learn a lot about podcasting from Podcasters Paradise. The platform is also a great resource to network with other podcasters, and to list your podcast.
Mentoring is a huge part of the membership. I joined their Facebook group. As I mentioned above, I partnered with another member, the host of The Prison Post Podcast. We mentored each other. Two of the guests I interviewed were referrals from him. Membership in Podcasters Paradise does have its rewards for new podcasters like me.
Participating in Podcasters Paradise, and PowerUp Podcasting, helped me to unite the moving parts. There is a lot of help available. But quality resources helped me launch and grow SoloMoms! Talk.
6. Interviewing solo moms can be both heartbreaking and spiritually uplifting
Listening to a solo mom‘s story can threaten to break your heart. Especially stories like Lydia’s whose partner locked her out of her home, along with their four your old son. Or Allison whose husband of 15 years, had children with two other women during their marriage.
Stories like these sometimes make me sad. But even in the middle of the stories, there are moments of inspiration. All of these amazing moms have endured life-altering setbacks and have emerged stronger. They kept their focus on caring for their children, even when they had to do it alone. And even when some like Allison, are still going through heartache. They continue to push through by faith.
It can be tough to listen to the stories. But I already knew from my own experience that being a solo mom is not easy. For moms like my most recent guest, Natasha, a new mother going through a divorce, my heart wants to break.
At the same time, I recently interviewed a mother whose ex-husband told her she would never make any money doing her “little art and craft” thing. She is now one of the top designers of medical facilities around the world. Then there is solo mom, who went back to school and got her undergrad, plus a Masters, after raising two sons solo. She now runs a unique cultural touring company.
Solo moms who are successful, both in raising their children and finding ways to grow and flourish, give us a sense of hope. My desire is to not only bring awareness to the struggles of solo moms, but also to shine a light on the positive impact they make in their families and communities. SoloMoms! Talk is also a platform where solo moms can share their stories and learn that they are not alone.
7. Monetization benefits your audience
When I first started podcasting, people told me I needed to monetize my show. I didn’t want to. A podcast coach refused to work with me. Because I told him I didn’t feel comfortable making money off something I thought was my calling. That was a big mistake.
Monetizing your podcast allows you to grow and expand your audience. It gives you an opportunity to build better alliances and get the help you need. Not framing the podcast as business kept it from growing the way it should.
For example, I have missed weeks of publishing, even though I had many interviews waiting for publication. I struggled with editing the episodes. Another time I was traveling across the country. So I missed out on being consistent because the show isn’t set up to pay for itself. So I can’t pay for editing unless I do it out of pocket.
I know I want SoloMoms! Talk to grow in quality and expand its reach. Now I realize that one of the best ways to do so is to monetize it.
Starting my own podcast was a nerve-racking experience for me. At times, I wondered what made me think I could do this. But I’m pushing through with the knowledge that it’s what I‘m supposed to do. Help and encouragement from friends and loved ones are indispensable. So is seeking out experts in the field. Thanks to them, the show has listeners in 204 cities, in 28 countries, and across six continents. These numbers continue to grow daily.
It’s what I dreamed about. There’s much more work to do to elevate the brand. Lots of ways I could improve the show. With God’s help, I can continue to grow. I can continue to share stories that inspire and uplift solo moms around the world.
Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. ~~ Ecclesiastes 9:9
*First published in Medium in 2020.