Are these things holding you back from starting a podcast?



Woman with questioning look on her face

Podcasting myths busted…

Starting a podcast can be daunting, especially if the only thing you’ve pressed record on is a VCR.

But if you’ve got a great idea you want to get into people’s ears and you’re talking yourself out of it because of any of the reasons below, let me put your mind at ease.

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I can’t podcast because…

I can’t come up with an idea

Of course, you can!  You just have to realise great creative ideas don’t appear overnight.

If you’re struggling to come up with your killer idea, check out this article where I take you through a series of exercises designed to turn your passions and interests into a show.

Get pen to paper and see if you can come up with something you like then let it marinate.  Share it with friends and see if they’re excited and if you’re excited too.

The best ideas are the ones you can’t get out of your head but you need to put in the work to find them.

How to come up with your podcast idea


No one will want to listen to my show

Having a huge audience shouldn’t be the sole reason for doing a podcast.  Just like doing a podcast for money, if this is your only goal then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Not that you won’t find an audience but it can take longer than you’d expect and if you don’t LOVE what you’re doing there’s no way you’re not going to stick with it.

Ultimately you should be doing a show because you can’t NOT do it.  Because you’re passionate about the content, super interested in the people you’re going to interview, chock full of knowledge you want to share or any other reason that floats your boat.

An audience will find a great podcast but the only way to create one is to love what you’re doing and to put thought and effort into the final product.

So, don’t let the fear of not having enough listeners stop you from doing something you’re excited about.

Build it and they will come.

Why you should design your ideal listener


I don’t have time

Let’s be honest here – we all have time for the things we want to make time for, no matter how busy we are.

You can claim not to have a spare minute in your day and if someone you’ve got a crush on asks you out you’ll magic up 3 hours of uninterrupted alone time, quick smart.

Finding the space to podcast requires good time management but you also need to be honest about why you want to do it.

If the reason isn’t strong enough to get you to commit to the hamster wheel of weekly episodes, then you’ll never find the time.

So sometimes, rather than beat yourself up about it every week, it’s probably best to wait until you do have time to focus.

It’s always going to be better to kick things off when you can handle the workload rather than pulling your hair out every time release day rolls around thinking “I don’t have time for this!”

What is batch recording?


I’m bad with technology

As the daughter of a man who once asked if I could “bring over the Facebook so I can have a look at it” I’m not blessed with the most tech-savvy genes.

Despite this, presenting, recording and editing audio has become second nature because I’ve spent so much of my life doing it.

It’s not innate talent or natural ability that gets you up to speed with technology, it’s practice.

If you’re an absolute beginner and don’t have a clue about what you need to get started, check out my free “How To Start A Podcast” guide that takes you through options for every budget.

As with everything, getting used to the equipment is just a matter of practice, so once you’ve decided on the equipment that’s right for your purpose and budget you just need to buy it and start recording.

When it comes to editing you can learn by searching online tutorials or by enrolling in my online podcasting course, PodSchool (shameless plug).

Again, once you know the basics it’s just a matter of familiarising yourself with the software and then taking the time to practice.  You’ll be surprised, once you know where everything is, how much easier it is than you thought.

Usually the biggest hurdle with technology is fear so let me assure you, if little Miss “can you bring the Facebook over?” genes can get a handle on it, you’ll be fine.

Learn how to podcast in PodSchool


I don’t have a radio voice

No one likes the sound of their own voice so if this is what’s been holding you back let me free you from those shackles.

If you’ve got a unique voice it’s completely natural to dislike the way it sounds when you hear it on tape.  That’s because you’re hearing it differently to how you’re used to (since our ears are on the side of our head not in front of our mouths which is how other people hear us).

Having a unique voice can be an advantage.

Think about This American Life host, Ira Glass.  He doesn’t have the typical radio voice but people LOVE him. Why?  Because he’s a brilliant storyteller who comes across as authentic, genuine and interested.

If you’re passionate about your content and can connect with your audience, a unique voice will make your show sound 100% you.  And that’s a good thing.

No one wants to listen to the “voice over guy (or girl)” talking at them for 40 minutes, they want you, in all your unique vocal glory.

Do you need a ‘radio voice’ to host a podcast?


I don’t have any presenting experience

While it’s important to know how to use your voice, if you have a genuine passion for your content and want to share it with your listeners, the rest can be taught.

Passion, expertise, knowledge and a genuine willingness to connect are things you’ve either got or you don’t.  But good presentation is something you’ll get better at the more time you spend behind the mic.

And remember, you don’t have to release the first episode you record.  You can practice for years until you’re comfortable releasing an episode.

Don’t feel like you have to jump in the deep end straight away, give yourself a bit of time to get comfortable and then share your show with the world.

How to keep an audience engaged when you’re presenting solo


I can’t afford a home studio

Maybe you’re the type to turn up for your first tennis lesson looking like you just stepped off the court at Wimbledon.  But in podcasting, when you’re starting out, you don’t need to buy the best of everything.

If you want to get started asap, you could set up a home studio for under AUD $200 (provided you already had a computer) because all you really need is a microphone, headphones and audio editing software.

When you get more experienced you can upgrade to things with more bells and whistles but in the early days, it’s totally possible to bootstrap without compromising on quality.

In fact, there’s a lot of things you can get without parting with any money at all.  If you’ve got earbuds that came with your phone you can use those until you’re ready to invest in something better.

For audio editing software, you can download a free program called Audacity.  Or if you find this too limiting you can upgrade to Adobe Audition for around $30/month.

Then the only thing left to worry about is a microphone and you can pick a decent one up for around AUD$100.

And that’s it!

The four things you need to start a podcast


So go forth, future podcasters, have faith that things will get easier and remember that practice makes perfect!  You just have to get started.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello there and welcome to the show. I might mention at the beginning because I forgot to flag this last week but this will be the last episode of the podcast for 2018. I'm going to take a few months off the show but there is of course so much stuff in the back catalogue and if you have questions that aren't covered or you can't find anything about it on my website at podschoolpodcast.com.au then please send me an email at the contact page there and I shall endeavour to answer your question as quickly as I can.

So today I wanted to focus on some of the things that might be holding you back from starting a podcast. Maybe you've been wanting to podcast all year and you haven't gotten around to it. We all know December and January is the time for New Year's resolutions and thinking about the things we want to put on the to do list. So, I wanted to give you a bit of inspiration or maybe a little kick up the bum to encourage you to start a podcast in the new year. To do that I wanted to go through some of the things that could be holding you back and bust the myths around a few of those things.

One of the first reasons people hold themselves back from podcasting is that they can't come up with an idea or they think they can't come up with an idea. I would encourage you to go back in this show to an episode where I talk about how to come up with the idea for your podcast. In that episode I take you through some practical things you can do to think about some of the topics that you're interested in or some of the things you know a lot about and try and hone that down into a show idea. That exercise is really helpful but so is patience. I have had a number of ideas for shows that sometimes it's been a couple of years between the idea and the execution of that idea. Sometimes that is because life gets in the way but more often than not it's because it takes a little while for ideas to percolate. I've had plenty of ideas that have been left in notepads never to be seen again but the real ones, the really good ones stay with you. So in that episode I talk about the importance of marinating on things, sharing your idea with others to get a sense of whether you're proud of it and whether other people are excited about it and to feel whether this is an idea that has legs that you could do for a long time. Be patient and be kind to yourself. As long as you’re not just sitting back with your feet up on the couch watching telly. If you’re trying to put the wheels in motion you're obviously listening to this show you're doing your research and you're trying to find that idea. It will eventually come you just need to do the work but also be kind and realize that these things do take time.

Another thing that can hold people back is this idea that no one will want to listen to the show. My advice in this regard is that having a huge amount of listeners shouldn’t be the only reason you’re doing a show. Every show I've made I've made because I can't not make it. Because I think it would be a great resource, or I just love the idea, or I just want to explore the content. I do have the audience in mind when I'm making the show because I'm trying to make content that appeals to them but it’s more about batting up great content than trying to get a million listeners through the door. If you’re making a show you want to make then even one listener will be enough to justify the idea.

As I said, you should still think about your audience when you're putting the show together and I've got plenty of resources on this show and also on my website about thinking about how to design your ideal listener. But really just doing it should be the main goal because you can't not do it. If you are designing a show that is thoughtful and you've thought a lot about the content and you're putting your best foot forward and you love it you will eventually find an audience. It might take some time but an audience will find a show that is good to listen to, high quality and where it sounds like the host really loves what they're doing. So, don't let the fear of not having enough listeners stop you from doing something you're really passionate about. If you've got one listener and it's your mum then that’s great. Eventually if you have the patience and you really put the time and effort in they will come.

Not having enough time is another excuse that I hear a lot from people when they say they can't start a podcast. Believe me I know podcasts take a hell of a lot of time but we all know that if we really want to do something we will find the time. You can say “I'm so busy I can't possibly do anything” and then a hot bird or a hot dude asks you out on a date all of a sudden you've got three hours free whenever you want it. So, you know that when you want to do something you can make the time. On the flipside of that, sometimes we are too busy and you have to give yourself a break and leave yourself the space to wait until you do have time to concentrate on it because it will take a heck of a lot of time. It will take a lot of dedication and to do it right you've got to have the time to invest in the project so you must make sure that you have enough time. But if you really want to do it just make time. I'm sitting here on a weekend chatting into a microphone I'll often be doing it at 11 or 12 o'clock at night if I need to if I had a full on day at work. You just need to do it in the time that you have available. If you really want to do it the reward at the other end when you see your show out there when you've got listeners when you're getting feedback you won't care at all if you had to stay up an extra hour or if you had to do it on the weekend because you'll be happy that you created the content. So don't let time be something that holds you back. If you are super busy and you've got a lot on, set yourself a goal for six months in the future and really plan to get your calendar into some kind of order that means you can fit it in. Just make sure you’re not doing it because you really don’t have time and not just because you’re scared. If fear is what’s holding you back, just jump in the deep end.

Having a radio voice seems to be something a lot of people think that they need to have to do a show and sometimes they think “I don't sound great when I'm recording.” But nobody thinks they sound great on tape because you sound different to what you’re used to. I have another episode about this very idea of having a radio voice so I won't go into a huge amount of detail but the crux of what I say in that episode is that you have to be you. People fall in love with you. Podcast fans fall in love with the host because they sound like they’re real, not like they’re acting or pretending to be someone else. The best thing you can do is talk to your audience exactly like you would talk to a friend. Nobody wants to hear the voice over person doing a show because it would be incredibly irritating. If you listen to podcasts there are a million and one different types of voices and what matters is how you connect with your audience. That is way more important than what your voice sounds like.

Not having any experience is another thing that stops people from podcasting. I will reveal it to you now, as someone who does this professionally, it’s all about practice. The thing you can't teach people is how to tell a story. So if you are good at that, there is some refining to go from a good conversationalist to a good presenter but that’ will really help you. If you’re good at telling a yarn or you've got a lot of expertise that you like to share you can absolutely podcast even if you've got no experience. Ditto with the tech. I've got a podcasting guide you can find at podcastguide.com.au that takes you through all the tech you need. Really you just need to know what you need and then get familiar with using it. It's all about practice and once you get your flying hours up you will be thinking “How did I ever find this difficult or think that this would be hard?” You just need to familiarize yourself with the process and I've got plenty of resources on my website that can help you out. I've got my online podcasting course Podschool.com.au if you want to go a bit deeper and get a bit more help. But don’t let a lack of experience shut you out of the podcasting game. You should be in it if you've got great ideas and great content. This is one of most magical things about this time and the fact that the tech is getting incredible. There are a whole heap of platforms that are being developed to encourage people to share their own content. You don't have to ask a newspaper or a journalist to cover your story or get yourself into a proper radio studio. You can do these things at home, so take that opportunity. Don't be afraid by a lack of experience practice and you'll get there and remember you don't have to go live the very first time you speak into a mike. You can practice and record episodes for a year, two years until you feel confident enough to release one. So don't feel like you have to jump in the deep end straight away, give yourself a bit of time to practice and feel comfortable and then start to release things. And then you will feel more confident in what you're doing.

Along this same line people often think “I'm bad with technology so I won’t be able to do it.” The truth is that you just need to be taken through it. Check out my podcasting guide or my online course if you want a bit more help. Otherwise just Google. You can find a lot of resources online that will help you familiarize yourself with the tech. If you go through my equipment guide which is free you can find a few options there for different budgets for microphones and if you really couldn't afford things you could get things done for under 100 bucks or around about 100 bucks. It's really not super expensive. Again it's just familiarising yourself and once you know what the process is and the steps that are involved it becomes rote. You get used to what you need to do so don't be afraid of not being able to use technology. I can barely turn a VCR on but I can do all of this stuff so you don't need to be naturally inclined that way. It's again just a matter of practice.

The cost is another reason people stay out of podcast because they think that they can't afford it. But there are so many products on the market now you don't have to pay for anything except maybe a microphone. If you've already got a computer then you could probably get away with podcasting for about 100 bucks and that would be the cost of a decent microphone. Then you can add on costs like Adobe Audition but there are plenty of free programs you can use like Audacity.

You can find free hosting platforms like Anchor or you can pay five bucks a month or 20 bucks a month to have a podcasting platform. You can actually get this rolling for a small amount of money and if you just want to try it because you're not sure whether or not you want to commit then I encourage you to try some of the free resources out there and even record on your phone while you're getting used to it. Please don't publish that because it's not high quality enough but if you just want to practice presenting and coming up with content and working out if you can structure a show then recording into your phone is a fine way to do that. You can also just use the headphones that come with your phone so you don't have to spend a huge amount of money when you're starting out. Just try and see if it's something you think you might want to do long term and then you can start to commit a bit more money. The only thing that you will need to pay for is a decent microphone, btu again they’re not expensive. The one I’m speaking into right now was 80 Australian dollars. And this is the kit I take out on the road with me for my own podcasts or if I’m recording on the road for the Mamamia podcast network which I’m the head of.

You can really do it at a cheap price so don't feel like you have to spend thousands of dollars to create a good podcast. The difference between a 500 dollar microphone and an 80 dollar microphone is not worth the money when you're starting out. So really start out small and build yourself from there. I hope that those things have reassured you that podcasting is not as scary as some people think and it is certainly a place where you are more than welcome and you should jump into if you've got great ideas that you want to share. Don't let any of those things be holding you back. And if you want to start a podcast this is perfect time bloody New Year's resolution is the way to do it. Think about wrapping up this year look at what you've got planned for next year and see if you can't see yourself a goal set yourself a deadline set yourself a month and a date that you want to get this rolling and then work on it. If you've got some time off over Christmas use that to your advantage. Take that time to try and plan out episodes go back to that episode where I talk about coming up with your podcast idea and see if you can come up with one if you haven't already. Go through the free resources on this podcast on my website to try and help you develop the concept and get comfortable and confident with how you get your idea into people's ears I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's.

Thank you so much for joining me on this show each and every week. I have loved doing it. I love being here in your ears. I will certainly be back in the New Year so please head to Bodd school podcast dot com to check out all of the show notes for the episodes and more information and make sure you send me an e-mail there if you have any questions that you would like answered on the show. Of course you can head to pod school dot com. Are you as well. If you would like to sign up for my online podcasting course it's a bloody great Christmas gift. If I do say so myself. Just treat yourself. Give yourself points school. All right I will see you in the New Year. Have a wonderful break and thank you so much for listening. And until then. Happy podcasting.

  1. Dale Phillips says:

    This advice is golden! It’s inspired me to revisit a project that has been in existence for nearly 8 years now, but due to fears, commitment and other obstacles, has never really gotten off the ground. Thanks Rach!

    1. rcorbett says:

      That’s great news, Dale! Go you good thing!

  2. Kat says:

    You’re right about the time. I find excuses or just keep putting things off.

    1. rcorbett says:

      So easy to do Kat but you’ve just got to make sure you’re putting it off for the right reasons. I know I have a million ideas that are unfinished, including podcasts, but to be honest some of the shows have sat on the shelf because it’s not the right time – I know I haven’t developed the idea enough, I haven’t found the right co-host yet, I’m interested in it but not passionate about it yet. If those are the reasons you’re putting it off then you need to trust you’ll know when it’s the right time BUT if you know you’ve got a killer idea and it’s something you’d love to do then “done is better than perfect”. If fear is the only thing holding you back you need to take a leap of faith and just get started. Once you’ve locked yourself in you’ll find the time to get it done and you’ll feel so glad you did it!

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