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How to deal with podcasting self-doubt

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How to deal with podcasting self-doubt | PodSchool Podcast

Thanks to Natalia for inspiring today’s episode with her comments about how self-doubt was holding her back from starting her own podcast.  If you’ve got a question you want answered on the show, send me an email.

Set yourself up for success…

Self-doubt is one of those annoying things that hits us whenever we step out of our comfort zone!

Podcasting can be really daunting if you’ve never worked with audio before or used the technology but there are a few simple things you can do to make it seem less terrifying.

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Practice

When you make the decision to podcast remember you don’t have to get started right away.

While you should never wait until you feel your show is “perfect” (because you’ll be waiting forever) there’s nothing wrong with getting comfy with what’s involved before you go ‘live’ with your first show.

Especially if this is the first experience you’ve had with hosting or recording audio.

As with anything new, it takes a while to get your head across the process.  So, if you’ve got your equipment you can start planning and recording practice episodes that are for your ears only.

This won’t only help you get into the groove of podcasting and give you a realistic idea of how much time you’ll need to set aside each week, it’ll also help you feel more confident behind the mic.  And the more confident you feel the more you’ll chip away at those pesky feelings of self-doubt.

If it takes you 100 practice episodes to feel like you’re ready to go live, that’s fine!

Remember that no one will know but you and you can use all of the content you’ve prepared for those episodes when it’s time to do the real thing.

Set achievable goals

Podcasting doesn’t need to be something you do every week for the rest of your life.

It’s true that podcasting success is a long-term game BUT some ideas are more suited to a short run season than they are to a weekly show that runs until you’re one foot in the grave.

Releasing your show in short seasons will give you a more realistic goal than trying to come up with 52 episodes from scratch (and that’s just for the first year).

It will also allow you to take a break in between seasons so you can use that opportunity to refine your concept or start on something new.

Stop stressing about finding an audience

Of course no one wants to do a podcast with only one listener (your mum) but when you’re just starting out that might be the case.  And if it is…big whoop!

The most important thing to think about if you’re stressing about numbers is “why are you doing this?”

If it’s because you think “I want to leave my job and this is how I’m going to make money” then do yourself a favour and stay with your job.

But if you’re doing it because you feel passionate about the content and you think there’s an audience out there who’ll really benefit from it, it won’t matter if two to 2 million people are listening because you’ll be doing what you love.

Plus, I’ve yet to meet a single podcaster who was passionate about what they were doing who didn’t eventually build an audience, so that always has to be the starting point.

As Kevin Costner would say “build it and they will come (as long as the thing you build isn’t crappy).”

Your podcast doesn’t need to be all about the numbers.  Maybe it’s enough that it’s providing a catalogue of content you can share on social to build your brand?

Whatever you do, NEVER go a podcast with the end goal in mind because you never know where it’s going to end up.

It might be something you do for six months and say “okay that’s not for me.” Or alternatively it might gain momentum and you could realise you’re really onto something.

Just start from that initial desire to make great content and let the rest unfold.

Pay for training

Learning how to do anything when you’re armed with nothing but google is tough.  But if you’re someone who likes to know as much information as possible before jumping in the deep end, there’s a bunch of ways you can get the knowledge you need to create a podcast.

For a start you could enrol in my online podcasting course.

The other option would be to find a radio school in your local area and do a short radio course.  This will help you get the nuts and bolts of how to use a microphone, how to present a show and how to come up with compelling content.

You could also volunteer at a community radio station where you can watch how people broadcast and understand what goes into radio.

The other option is to cherry pick some of the aspects of podcasting you feel you need help with and look for online training in that specific area.

All these things will help you feel more confident when it comes time to sit down in front of your recording gear and get started.  And the more confident you feel the less doubt will hold you back.

You can find all the information about my online podcasting course, PodSchool, at podschool.com.au.

So, if you’re questioning your ability or whether you can do this, remember you don’t have to turn up to a radio studio and do a shift in front of a million people. This is a private exercise until you decide it’s time to go public.

So, get your equipment together and practice until you feel you’re ready to let your show out into the world.

You’ve totally got this!

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

Need some help getting started or setting up your home studio?  Download my free podcasting guide.

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

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the show and greetings from exceptionally hot Queensland in Australia. Right now I am staying with some family and I am huddled away in the corner of my bedroom with a couple of pillows wrapped around my microphone and I've had to turn off the fan and shut all the windows to make sure that the sound is as good as it possibly can be. As a consequence I'm currently coming to you live from a sweatbox so if everything goes silent at any point in this episode you'll know I've passed out from heat exhaustion. Fingers crossed I make it all the way through to the end. Today's episode comes from a question I received on email from Natalia, she was asking about how you get rid of self-doubt when it comes to starting a podcast. This is a huge thing for a lot of people who have never done any broadcast or podcasting or radio before. It's very daunting to sit in front of a microphone to record your voice, put something out into the Internet and ask people to listen to it. And it's easy to understand why people don't go through with it because of the fear of it not being a success at the end.

[00:01:20] But if you're struggling with self-doubt about whether or not you can start your own podcast I just wanted to talk through a few different ways to think about what you're doing and also some of the things that you can do to set yourself up for success.

[00:01:41] 1. Practice.

[00:01:44] This isn't a radio show and when you decide you're going to podcast and you set your gear up and you have your microphone there and you prep your content and you record your episode none of what you record has to be made public. So my first piece of advice would be don't tell people you're going to a podcast until you're ready to do it. Having said that sometimes it is great to have that accountability where you say okay this is going to be out by March. And to make sure that people hold you to that but when you're just starting out give yourself a bit of a break and realise that you can record episodes at home and practice getting into the schedule, putting content together and listen back to what you're doing and see what's working and see what's not. If that takes you six months to a year that's fine. Podcasting will still be here and better you release something that you feel is up to scratch. It doesn't need to be perfect that's for sure but just where you feel "okay I think I'm getting in the swing of this a little bit" because while waiting for perfection is never going to be something that you should do and you should always leap quicker than you're ready to at the same time there is something to be said, if you are coming at this from nothing, for spending time getting comfortable behind the mic. Then all of that content you do whether it takes you six episodes or 100 episodes can be used again because nobody's hearing it and when you do it a second time or third time it will be in much better shape than the first time you did it. So really make the most of the fact that nobody needs to hear what you're doing and that you actually have an ability to record and practice in front of a microphone and to do the episodes as if they were going to go live but to spend that time getting comfortable. So make sure you're a bit kind to yourself and understand that this isn't something that if you decide you want to do it you have to do it tomorrow. Practice and use that ability to record yourself and listen back to get yourself a bit more comfortable so that you feel more confident getting into it and actually asking people to listen to what you're shipping out.

[00:04:36] 2. Committ to something achievable.

[00:04:36] Podcasting doesn't need to be an every week commitment for the rest of your life. I feel like some people think that once they start they can not stop and they'll be on the hamster wheel and that you've got to come up with content forever and ever and ever. And yes there are podcasts that have been running for years and doing that but there are super successful podcasts with only six episodes and are still continually getting listened to because people are still finding them. So if you feel like you want to give something a try but you're scared about whether you can commit to it in the long term. Maybe your idea is better suited to a six part season and you can trial the first six parts and do those six episodes and then maybe you get into the groove of it and you think "oh my goodness I could totally do this every week" or alternatively maybe you think "okay that's six weeks done then I'll come back in another month and I'll do another six episodes" or maybe just do that six episode season and that wraps up really nicely in a tight little bow and then you can go on to one of your other ideas. So don't set yourself up for the expectation that you have to be podcasting for the rest of your life. Granted podcasting is a really long term goal so if you're just starting out the idea of maybe having six episodes and building a gigantic audience off that isn't necessarily going to happen. However you also do need to get your flying hours up a little bit and so maybe if you just set yourself a more achievable goal it's not going to be so terrifying. And if nobody listens. What's the big deal. This is really where it comes back to your why - why are you doing this podcast? If you are doing it because you think "I want to leave my job this is how I'm going to make my money" then please stay with your job because money doesn't always come at the end of a podcast. If you're doing it because you think you should be jumping on the bandwagon because it's rolling by, wait until the time is right for you.

[00:06:35] Podcasting will be here when you're ready for it but it's really important that the reason you're doing this show is because you feel passionate about the content and because you think there's an audience out there who'll really benefit from it. That's got to be the reason for doing it so that at the end of the day you'll be happy if one person listens to it or one million people listen to it. Don't set yourself up for unrealistic expectations or go into this with the end goal in mind because you just never know where this is going to end up. It might be something that you do for six months and say "okay that's maybe not for me." Or alternatively it might gain momentum and you might think "oh my goodness I'm really onto something here!" You just have to start from that initial desire to make the content and let the rest unfold. So just make sure you're doing it for the right reasons and not expecting the outcome because you just really never know where it's going to end up.

[00:07:45] 3. Get some training.

[00:07:45] If you're somebody who likes to know where the furniture is a bit before they actually jump in. Of course you could do my online podcasting course PodSchool.com.au or you could go and volunteer at your local community radio station. They're very very good at being open to volunteers coming in and teaching people and training people up and you can see how radio works and how people present on air and get a little bit of a an understanding of the behind the scenes.

[00:08:16] Alternatively if there's a radio school in your neighborhood or nearby you could go and do a short course or a longer course and get some skills. Just to give you that tiny bit more confidence that makes you feel like "okay I'm not going into this totally blind. I can actually do this because I know what needs to be done" so that can be a really good way to give yourself some confidence and you can of course find all the information about my online podcasting course PodSchool at the podschoolpodcast.com website.

[00:09:02] So Natalia I hope that has helped to think a little bit differently about jumping in the deep end and if you are having doubts about your ability or whether you can do this remember that you don't have to turn up to a radio studio and do a shift in front of a million people. This is a private exercise until you decide it's time to go public so get your equipment and take the opportunity to really practice and get to a point where you feel like you're ready to let your show out into the world. You've totally got this. I have complete faith in you and I know that you can do it. Thanks so much for listening to this episode.

[00:09:38] If you have any questions just like Natalia did please send me an e-mail at the contact page at podschoolpodcast.com. If you're finding these tips helpful I would love it if you would leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. It just helps other people find the show. Right! It is time to dab this sweat moustache and sweat beard away. See you next week until then, happy podcasting.

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