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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