When I first started the Work Like a Mother podcast, I vowed that I would do at least ten episodes and then I would decide whether to carry on. It feels like I've blinked and got to that many, and I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty much addicted. I'm even thinking about starting a second podcast in the not too distant future...
That's not to say that it has all been plain sailing. Starting a new project and putting it out in the world is a pretty scary process and has definitely left me feeling very vulnerable at times. It makes me realise how 'safe' I now find blogging; I am pretty confident in my writing and what I share here, but I have to say that having to listen to myself speak time and again during the editing process has left me cringing on more than one occasion.
But, it has been worth it. I've got to speak to some amazing women and mothers, who have been so gracious and kind in sharing their experiences, their lives and their knowledge with me (and with you!). I hope that I have been able to do them justice in some small way, because they definitely deserve it. I've really enjoyed having these conversations, especially since they are so close to my heart as I wade back into the world of work, and I want to keep having them - so expect Work Like a Mother to stick around for a little while yet...
1. You can only get better at something if you actually, you know, do it.
I put off starting the podcast for so long because I was scared. I was scared I would sound stupid or mess up the interviews or no one would listen or people would say mean things. But there's no way to become good at podcasting (or at anything) without doing it, so you have to just get stuck in.
2. The worst someone can say is 'no'.
It's a little bit daunting asking people to give up their time for your pet project, especially if it's someone that you admire. Of course, whilst it can feel personal, there are plenty of reasons that have nothing to do with you why they might say no - and that's really the worst they can say. If you ask and get a no, you're in the exact same position you started in if you never ask - without them as a guest, so it really won't be so bad.
This applies outside of podcasting as well, of course, but in podcasting in particular, I have found that people are generally pretty flattered to be asked to speak about themselves (wouldn't you be?) so it's definitely worth reaching out.
3. Interviewing really is a skill
Interviewing is the thing that was a real stumbling block for me when I first started; it's incredibly daunting trying to do justice to someone and get them to spill their secrets to you. I am generally pretty chatty in real life, but this felt next level - and I was right. It can be hard to get a really great interview going, and it's definitely something I'm learning more about as time goes on. My main strategies so far are doing my research ahead of time and taking notes during to help me create questions on the fly. I'll be interested to see how I'm doing in ten episodes' time...
4. It's better not to focus on the numbers.
Remember when I said blogging didn't make me feel vulnerable? Well, this does. Talking actual numbers is scary because it feels like a commentary on me and my work, but I'm taking a leaf from Lucy's book and laying it out there because I would rather someone else who is looking to start a podcast has a realistic picture of what it might be like (even if they then surpass me massively!).
Due to Apple Podcast's terrible analytics, I was under the impression that just 71 people had listened to my podcast *in total* in the last 10 weeks. But, after installing Podtrac last week, I've discovered that's a little skewed. But, we're still not talking big numbers. My podcast had 95 downloads last week. And, I'm sad to say, that it bums me out a little bit, because I have really put my heart into this project and I wanted that number to be higher. Partly for my own ego, and partly because I have some amazing guests and I want you to hear what they have to say! But, the wisdom goes that you should focus on the audience you *do* have rather than the one you don't, and, ultimately, if you put 95 people in a room and asked me to speak in front of them, I'd be daunted by that number.
So, I'm finding it better not to focus on the numbers and just enjoy the process. It would be amazing to have a popular podcast with thousands of downloads, and maybe one day I will, but for now I'm just giving it a go.
5. Podcasting is really fun.
Despite the vulnerability, the anxiety, the steep learning curve, and the time-consuming nature of podcasting, it is really, really fun. It reminds me of how giddy I used to get about blogging when I first started. I get nervous every time I'm about to interview someone, but come away from it totally buzzing. That is mostly down to how awesome my guests have been, and how fun it is to chat with them, but also because I love podcasts and it's brilliant to be a part of making one.
So, if you're on the fence about starting your own, I would definitely say to jump in with two feet and worry about the rest later!