#5 – How to start and the struggles launching a podcast
I started out writing a post on how to start towards our goals, it focused on how to get started and the battle with our internal fears and procrastination. Listeners of episode 4 on why we lose motivation, will know the discussion between Drew and I quickly turn into a self-analysis on launching this podcast alongside our busy lives.
I’m a big advocate of learning from others mistakes, as I wrote in You don’t need to fail to be successful, so I’m turning this blog on its writer, this is a tale of how this podcast was nearly never launched, how it took 8 months from the first recording before anything was released and the pressures Drew and I struggled with every time the launch date neared.
This post isn’t a list of the best way to launch a podcast, rather, this is the antithesis, a guide on all the pitfalls that can result in never launching. It should be titled, ‘how not to launch a podcast’. Don’t do what we did, be better. Here’s what happened…
The initial energy
When starting a podcast, the initial technical challenges can be a hurdle. The recording equipment needed, editing skills, hosting and promoting the podcast etc. I started my research and was quickly overwhelmed, after narrowing my focus there were two sources I found invaluable, which were Jonny Lee Dumas who is revered in the podcasting community and has tons of information on his website.
The other source was from a complete stranger, Kent, a fellow podcaster on twitter @bringdadabeer who reached out when I created the twitter account @dads_like_us and offered loads of information from someone in the trenches, I can’t thank Kent enough.
Luckily, Drew is a Composer with his own studio so had the equipment and is a guru at editing. We both started with high energy and within a couple of months, we had recorded four episodes, purchased the website domain and created the social media accounts on most platforms. Two of the recordings had been edited and we were discussing ideas for other episodes.
We agreed a regular recording schedule and I began work writing posts for the recorded episodes, this wasn’t necessary but writing is my passion so I was willing. I also began designing the website.
With all this activity and work completed so far, we were gearing up to launch. It was coming to the end of July and I was about to embark on a three-week vacation. We agreed to move the launch from end of July to when I returned in late August, both confident this would only be a short delay.
After all, we hadn’t launched yet so delaying it wouldn’t make a difference (that procrastination mindset will come back to bite us), with everything agreed, we hung up our mics.
Picking up the mic
On my return in August, in the first couple of weeks, my work life was hectic, so many things had been left waiting for my return and I was working long days to catch-up.
September came very quickly and it was the start of the school year, so again I delayed any podcast activity as my older son settled into a new school. A couple of schedule clashes meant it wasn’t until late September when Drew and I finally met again.
Apologies aplenty between us and that first meet was spent discussing the direction of the show. New ideas agreed, new recording schedule, multiple re-edits suggestions of the current episodes, some insights and a commitment to the new routine but our mistake was not to agree on a new launch date.
If there is any lesson to take from this post, this is it. Just launch, I mean it. Let the first one be whatever it is, the longer we pondered and relistened, the more mistakes we found, this lead to more edits and tweaks and the cycle of delaying the launch continued.
Neither Drew or I claim to be perfectionists but the more we listened to the recorded episodes, the more errors we found and with that, we convinced ourselves a ‘few more tweaks’ were required both saying out loud “it doesn’t need to be perfect, just needs a couple tweaks”, securely in the knowledge we hadn’t launched so no one had heard them yet.
Don’t make the same mistake, force the launch. Dislike those episodes knowing better ones will be made, but for the love of your sanity, just launch it.
And then, there are day jobs
The next couple of months went by even faster. We got an intro recorded and a couple more episodes, we now had six in total. The website was up albeit in a basic form and we were getting ready to launch, it was November, and then Drew had a large piece of work land in his lap that needed his full focus.
He runs his own business so this type of work we always knew had to take priority and the plan was to have some recordings ready to launch during these periods, but, as we hadn’t launched we agreed to delay until December. This by now was our fourth or fifth launch delay.
However December is a hectic work time for me, I knew this and yet believed we could launch anyway. To say I was being unrealistic is an understatement. December was a blur, the most I managed was to make some updates to the website, but many parts of the site weren’t working.
I had no time to meet up with Drew and only managed to send a few WhatsApp messages, mostly apologising for my Houdini style disappearing act. This continued up to Christmas eve, if not for the joys of online shopping, I wouldn’t have managed to buy family Christmas gifts.
It’s out there
Drew and I caught up towards the end of December. We agreed a January launch, phrases like ‘do or die’ and “hell or high water” were thrown about, mainly by me admittedly, listeners will know Drew is too chilled for that type of hyperbole, and so we had a launch commitment.
January came and went amidst broken schedules and routines, it wasn’t until early February that we released the launch episode and a flurry of other episodes quickly followed.
When we look back it’s easy to list everything that went wrong, procrastination, unrealistic expectations, motivation, fear, getting started etc.
The list goes on and all of this could be avoided if we listened to the discussions we have on the show. It’s a reminder we are all fallible, constantly learning and above all, chasing our goals will always be a challenge. Good luck out there.