Episode 030 – Navigating Fear, Managing Control + Growing a Successful Podcast Production Business

Episode Summary

This episode is super special to us over here at PPS. Hailey sits down with two of our awesome and successful students, Sara M. and Sharon S., and they share with us all the nitty gritty of what it takes to start and run successful podcast production businesses. 


Show Notes
Months In Operation
What We’re Talking About:
  • Dealing with ‘first client fear.’
  • Learning by experience vs education.
  • Taking action on what you can control and letting the rest go.
  • Building out a plan and following it. 
  • The role(s) their podcast production businesses are going to play this year.
  • Getting over sensational thoughts of earning and calculate YOUR desired bottom line.

Today I talked to two Podcast Production School students about how they faced the challenges of growing a successful podcast production business.

Sharon’s been online since 2016. She dove into the Youtubing scene for a year but struggled to maintain growth. After that, she tried podcasting, fell in love with it, and saw her email list grow by 20%.

Also with me today was Sara. Sara’s a nanny but moved into freelance for the flexibility and freedom it affords – especially during COVID-19 times.

Sara joined Podcast Production School. And when she was about 40% of the way through the course, she had her first client! She quickly went through the course to find the bits that applied and could help her.

“I learned how to write a contact while my baby was napping.”

One thing that really resonated with Sara was realizing “Education is not the same as learning.” A lot of people learn better by doing – which requires failure. But the last thing a lot of people can face, because it’s uncomfortable. So people avoid doing and creating and fill their time with education. That’s why we think it’s important to find the balance and actually use the knowledge you learn in Production School.

Sharon told us she was actually in debt from taking so many business courses. She didn’t even tell her husband. But with four kids to look after, podcasting was an escape, a non-accountable side hustle. And after taking Production School, her business coach helped her onboard her first client – who she still has to this day.

“It was so scary but you gotta do it, be brave, even if you’re not, and go do the thing.”

And it is scary. 

But we often tell our clients there’s no such thing as a podcasting emergency. Nobody’s in surgery. No one’s going to die. And no one’s going to know if you messed up one little thing on a piece.

We also talked about how fear of failure can really mess you up. Sometimes we don’t see our thoughts as what they are – lies. Sure, you might mess things up. But it’s just one mistake. There are no guarantees in life. So don’t be afraid to challenge the lies in your head. Just take control of the narrative.

It’s important to realize what you can and can’t control. Having clear client boundaries helps a lot – saying no to notifications on your phone, not thinking about work after a certain time. If you’re lying in bed at night ruminating on work then you’re doing it wrong. 

“We all build businesses so we can have the freedom to do the things we love.”

But to get that freedom what’s required is constraint. You have to constrain yourself from entertaining certain thoughts and narratives. You have to constrain your work hours and your boundaries. If you can do that, you can feel that freedom.

Building a plan and following it

Sharon is super organized. She takes three hours on Monday to plan out her week, what gets done, and when. She has nine clients at the moment and is almost booked out. She wakes up early, gets everything organized. If the clients get the files to me by Friday 3 PM EST, she says, I’ll get them back to you by next Friday. When you have five kids you need this time to allow life to happen.

Sara told us that she gets everything done during business hours. 

Don’t let anything spill over. Here’s how we suggest you set client expectations:

  • Got a notification outside of hours? Ignore it.
  • Let clients know when you’re available and when to expect an answer.
  • Never, ever promise a response within ten minutes. It sets a bad precedent.

“It’s not your job to keep other people from discomfort. It’s OK for people to wait for a reply or to ask twice. Perfection is not required, presence is required. Whatever happens in-between is what it is.”

We talked about the differences from being busy (like working 80 hour weeks) to being preoccupied (when you’re ruminating on your business outside of work hours too much). 

There’s a big difference between the two.

What are your goals this year?

If you’re already hitting that MVI (minimum viable income), then what are you running your business for? For Sharon, it’s a mommy escape. A separate identity.

She’s running it for ‘dream’ money, that “fly my family to Disney World for a week, money.” Not everyone needs to be the latest freelancing success story earning six figures. Living up to those standards is a lot of pressure.

For Sara, working as a nanny means you change jobs often, sometimes every year. 

You can easily get laid off on short notice. So working as a freelancer is a fallback. It’s something that she loves doing. And if she lost her job today? Then she could get four clients no problem. It’s the kind of job that could become her full-time income if she needed it to be, at any time.

That’s why we like to think of business as a choose-your-own-adventure. 

You can literally do whatever you want. There are no rules. No one size fits all. Whether that’s ten clients and a maxed-out schedule or two and the sense of freedom and flexibility. You do what’s right for you.


Connect with Sharon:

Connect with Sara:

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