The first time I heard a podcast as a listener, I knew it was something I wanted to do myself.
For me, the moment came when listening to a podcast called “This Is Your Life” by Michael Hyatt back in the summer of 2013 when I was on my own journey in finding a better work/life balance and stumbled upon Hyatt’s podcast on personal leadership.
The weekly episodes quickly became a weekly habit for me, and I was virtually always able to find at least one useful takeaway. The commitment was easy; I usually listened with it in the background while driving someplace or another, or while taking my daughter (back then I only had 1!) for a neighborhood walk in the stroller. Yet the connection was powerful. With the podcast playing in my ear, it felt like Hyatt was literally in my head, and that when he talked about his struggles, I was sharing in his journey and he was talking directly to me!
At that point, I resolved to launch my own podcast. As someone who writes very “long form” content, I’ve always been cognizant that there are many people who might be interested in what we have to share, but will simply never read a long “Kitces-style” article. So an alternative format – a podcast – was clearly a plus, as a different way to produce content and reach a slightly different audience that was more interested in learning through hearing than via reading. And I hoped that I’d be able to create a deeper connection with my audience by creating the same kind of “audio intimacy” that drew me to Hyatt’s work as well.
And so I resolved that, for 2014, I would have two strategic goals: 1) launch a podcast; 2) launch this “side business” idea that I had, called XY Planning Network. In reality, #2 launched first and grew so quickly that it consumed all my time to do #1 (not to mention that we separately launched the XYPN Radio podcast in the summer of 2015)! Life doesn’t always turn out as planned! And as a result, I didn’t manage to circle back to starting my own podcast until the summer of 2016, with a final launch at the start of 2017.
Now nearly 2 years, 100 episodes, and 1.6 million(!) downloads later, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes – and what not to do! – when launching a podcast and building an audience. And so, in the hopes that it is useful to at least a few others who may be considering whether to start a podcast as well, I share with you my journey and the lessons learned along the way!