Why I Quit The Hey Eleanor Podcast (For Now)

I'm hanging up my headphones... for now. 
I’m hanging up my headphones… for now.

Not to sound like a pretentious jerk, but

I loved podcasts before podcasts were cool.

(PS Thanks for making them cool, Serial!)

Over three years ago, I started the Go Fork Yourself podcast with my long-time boss/friend, Andrew Zimmern. We had funny conversations in the office; why not record them and blast ’em off to the masses?

Recording the first few episodes were really, really scary. I’m a strong writer, but speaking? Not really my forte, especially when my co-host is a person who could talk for hours without coming up for air.

I had so much anxiety about my ability to speak confidently, that I took three rounds of improv classes.

Improv helped tremendously.

I learned to not over think things. Sometimes, you just gotta open your mouth and trust that the right thing will fly out of it. And if it doesn’t, you need to learn to cut yourself some slack. Or ensure you have a great editor.

As of this moment, we’ve recorded over 150 episodes. Slowly, but surely, we build a dedicated following that tuned in weekly. They asked us tons of questions, struck up conversations on social media, and a few even sent us gifts. It was absolutely delightful.

In the late spring of this year, our podcast producer left (on good terms, in case you are wondering) and GFY was going to take a hiatus. I needed to make a decision.

I had considered podcasting on my own. I was already doing interesting interviews with super-smart people, so why not record them and create my own show? Plus, I had an existing audience who knew who I was and were already listening to me on a podcast. I potentially already had listeners! I didn’t want to just sit back and watch that audience walk away.

Of course, the trouble was I didn’t exactly know how to make a podcast.

Because I am insane, I decided to go full throttle and figure it out. I bought a microphone. I learned how to use Garage Band. I purchased music. I downloaded software to record phone calls on Skype.

A week later, I launched my first show.

It was just me and a microphone, telling my story. It was okay. It took forever to record, edit and upload. But I did it and it felt great.

Or at least it felt great for a moment.

Because as soon as I posted the first show, I had another one to make. And then another after that. And so on…. and so on….

This podcasting stuff takes so much time! You have to set up the interview, prep for the interview, then do the interview. Then there’s editing, transcribing, writing, recording and editing the intro and outro, coming up with a marketing strategy… it’s a lot. And I realized I was spending about 10 hours a week making this happen. And I wasn’t getting paid for it.

For a new-ish show, I had respectable listenership. I thought the content was great. I’m really, really, really proud of what I made. But it wasn’t enough to even earn $20 from a sponsor. Really. I asked people who sell podcast ads.

So I had to get real with myself.

What am I really trying to accomplish? Not just with this podcast, but with my career and life? I love writing, which is an element of podcasting. And I love working, but I want to work SMARTER, not HARDER. And since this show takes up roughly 30 percent of the time I eventually want to dedicate to working every week, I decided to put it on hold. I might take it up again, but not until I have the time. And right now I don’t.

I love that I gave it a shot, and now I know it’s not the right move to make at this time. I’ll still be doing interviews, just only in written form.

So that’s why I’m a quitter, again. It’s a little scary, but also feels pretty darn good.

* * *

You might think quitting is for losers. I think quitting can be pretty darn great. Here’s a bunch of quitters who are making their lives more awesome on purpose.


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Comments (10)

  • Melissa Joulwan 5 years ago Reply

    Nice job, lady! I’m sure that wasn’t an easy decision to make. I just "quit" on doing another Well Fed magazine. It felt lousy making the decision — and 100% correct, now that they part of saying "no" is done.

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    I’ll be that was hard and it’s completely understandable that you’d mourn that loss! I’m still mourning the loss of the podcast, but my day-to-day is so much less stressful because of it. Gotta keep focusing on the big picture.

  • Nina Badzin 5 years ago Reply

    You know what– this is inspiring. It’s so hard to try new things. I’m sure you learned so much and now you’re opening yourself up to new opportunities by freeing up some time. Not every venture has to be forever. I’m impressed with your instinct to try it and to quit.

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    Thank you. It is hard to try new things, and I’ve come to the realization that the only way to make it easier is to practice. When you intentionally try something new, it can be really fun and exciting. When you string a bunch of new things together, it becomes easier and easier to try new things.

    As for the quitting, it was pretty easy to make the decision once i realized my goals required me to have way more freed up time. It’s funny– every time I free myself up, that space seems to get filled instantly! Time management is probably the most difficult thing about working for yourself.

  • Jen S. 5 years ago Reply

    I thought your podcasts had 100% totally interesting people but I just didn’t have time to listen to them. I’d much rather read your witty blog entries!!! So keep ’em coming! 🙂

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    I kept getting that feedback, too: "I love that you offer transcriptions of your podcasts… that way, I can just read them." It’s a lot easier to just do one, so… bye bye podcast!

  • Paige 5 years ago Reply

    I love podcasts too! I’m glad they led you to improv which led to our friendship. Good on you for making your work work for you!

  • Scot Herrick 5 years ago Reply

    I looked at Podcasting and did it for a while before podcasting was cool…and stopped. Same reason. I would like to do video a LOT more…but what video I have done looks a lot like the podcasting process with a different media. Video may win some time, though, as it is not a scheduled thing and can present certain ideas better than text and graphics.

    So, good for you.

    I listen to podcasts during my 30-minute commute and all of them have someone else doing all of the backend work to make a podcast great. Big difference when you have some staff to support the effort…

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    It all takes so much time, especially when you are doing it yourself. Hands on learning is great, but it takes forever!

  • Suzi Hunn 5 years ago Reply

    Oh, how, as a creative person, I wish you could make money doing this awesome thing you’re so good at and love! But I understand and respect your choice. So, good for you!
    Also, I had to chuckle when seeing your series about quitters, because I use this word to refer to zippers and socks. You know, the ones that decide they no longer want to stay up. In fact, just yesterday I pulled out a pair of pants I hadn’t worn in months and had forgotten they have a quitter zipper. So embarrassing to walk along and notice that fly down–again. 🙂

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