The First 24 Hours of Candid Conversations…
You just KNOW you’re in for an interesting conversation when, upon hearing the ping of Google Hangouts, you wander over to your laptop to see that your biz bestie has written you a lengthy message beginning with a simple, “Idea:”
The idea that Dan had? To start a podcast about small business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and more.
But not *just another business podcast*, because let’s be honest, there are a LOT of them out there.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I love a good business podcast! But the market IS just a *little* saturated ;))
What appealed to me the most about Dan’s idea to start a podcast was that this one would be all about providing an in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes of real-life businesses, and having real, raw conversations with a diverse group of other business owners and communications specialists.
Overwhelmingly, as a small business strategist who teaches other solopreneurs how to start their own businesses, I keep hearing how much my students want to see examples of what other people have struggled with and how they’ve overcome obstacles. Every business is unique, and every person’s challenges and experiences are different—but we can all learn something from all of it. Sharing stories is what connects us, inspires us, empowers us to come into our own.
“Sharing stories is what connects us, inspires us, empowers us to come into our own.” – @Saganlives #candidpodcast
Up until this past week, I had a vague notion that it would be cool to start a business podcast. After all, podcasts are becoming the hot new thing: everyone seems to be starting a podcast these days (and for good reason: podcasts are awesome!). But while I kind of liked the IDEA of starting a podcast, I just couldn’t see how it would be any different than what other people were doing… and it seemed like a lot of work, especially because the tech side of things is so NOT my strong suit.
All of that is to say, I hadn’t seriously considered the idea of podcasting until Dan announced his concept this past Monday night.
My response? “That sounds awesome! I love it!”—and then we immediately dived into brainstorming name ideas, because that’s apparently how we roll.
It still felt a little pie-in-the-sky at this point (after all, we’d been talking about it for approximately 15 minutes), but when Dan said how much he wanted to start putting plans together for it, I suggested we get started that night.
I mean, I DID have a pretty important date to watch BBC’s Pride & Prejudice by myself, but I guessed that could be put off for another evening.
After we each had dinner (and, let’s be honest, I finally got properly dressed* and semi-cleaned the house, because when you work from home full-time there’s a whole lot of never getting out of your pajamas and rarely dusting), Dan came over to my place and I got out the giant poster paper and colored pens.
Naturally, Dan started to write out his ideas for getting sponsors and what the costs would be to do a podcast in his neat, measured printing, and I started writing down a meticulous step-by-step to-do list in my scrawling, illegible handwriting.
With his industry background and my organizational/planning skills, we were soon covering the poster paper in all kinds of ideas with different colored pens. The brainstorming stage is such a fun one!
*I should note here that my idea of “getting dressed” is basically putting on leggings for pants. I feel good about my life choices.
Time to take our ideas and figure out an actionable plan as a result of brainstorming—and divide the tasks between us.
After a couple of hours of brainstorming and chatting, we knew that we had a few BIG steps to take, like…
- Confirm guests for our first few podcast episodes
- Confirm sponsors for our first few podcast episodes
- Get a website put together
- Map out the branding and create graphics for the podcast
- Create a marketing strategy
- Create scripts for the podcast intro
Luckily, Dan already has a background of setting up a podcast, so he knew all of the logistics and technical details for doing that (thank goodness. Dealing with tech stuff is one of my personal nine circles of hell). I offered to tackle the marketing side of things.
Dan: “Is that okay? I’m not really interested in doing that.”
Me: “UM YES THIS IS WHAT I’M BEST AT.”
Real-life conversation, you guys.
Side note: if you ever plan on doing collaborative work with a business partner, make sure it’s with someone who COMPLEMENTS your skills. It just so happens that I love the strategizing/content creation side of things, whereas Dan has an amazing aptitude for the technical, analytical and branding side of things.
Chief Content Officer and Chief Operating Officer, right there.
After choosing a name for the business podcast, we purchased the domain name for this very website and went our separate ways, with deadlines in mind.
One of the great questions that Dan asked towards the end of our brainstorming session was, “what happens if we fail? What are some things that might cause us to fail?”
I love this question from the standpoint of being a business strategist, because it’s important to dream big but at the same time be REALISTIC about what’s going on. You need to have a balance of the two.
We took a good hard look at timelines and decided that in order to meet all of our podcast deadlines (while also adhering to client deadlines and our other work commitments), it made sense to stagger our podcast episodes. Rather than trying to get one out every single week, we’d air podcasts every three weeks. That would give us plenty of time to prepare for each podcast episode and make sure all of them are just how we want them before launching!
The next morning, I woke up and pretty much instantly started putting together a marketing plan, a template of questions for our guests, and our shared Google Drive folder and Asana to-do list. I also reached out to the person we really wanted as our very first guest (and received confirmation within just a couple hours!).
Meanwhile, Dan had already put the website together and set up our new email addresses.
At this point we’re still chatting on Google Hangouts, because we have #alltheideas that must be discussed—and we realized that somehow, incredibly, in less than 20 hours we had come up with a podcast concept that already had a guest, semi-working website, and a project plan.
By this point, we reached out to another 8 people to be our guests. More episode planning, format outlining, and website fine-tuning was also happening around now.
This was about the time when I realized that I’d completely neglected, um, basically everything else in my business over the past 24 hours while working on podcast preparations. Whoops!
That’s the problem with projects you’re excited about, particularly when they start spontaneously: they tend to take over everything else. So guess who will be waking up super early the next day to work on client projects? *raises hand*
But the other thing that happened at this point? Every single one of the guests we’d reached out to expressed interest in being on our business podcast. I can’t WAIT to record our interviews with them, because they are all super cool people with fascinating stories, from all kinds of different backgrounds and industries.
This also happened to be when we confirmed our very first sponsorship for episode #1, which meant that now the podcast was feeling very real.
After just 24 hours.
NEW podcast highlighting #Winnipeg entrepreneurs + communications specialists! with @dn_nicholson @saganlives #wpg
Recording the podcast
It was at almost exactly the 48-hour mark (from when we first started talking about the idea of doing a business podcast) that we began recording the first episode in earnest. We spent about 2 hours recording segments for the podcast.
Over the past two days, this website has been finalized, logo and graphics and business cards have been designed, an email opt-in has been created (yep, you can get notified when new episodes go live!)… Things are happening.
And that brings us to this very moment of publishing this blog post 🙂
It turns out it really is possible to create a podcast within just a few days!