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Six Lessons Learned In My First Year Of My Furniture Refinishing Podcast

What is UP my friends and fellow busy bees. Today marks a very exciting milestone as it has officially been ONE YEAR since the birth of my podcast BusyBee Refinishing with MelDidItHerself, which is nuts. I’m so thankful to every single person who shows up week after week to spend time with me on the podcast, and honestly, doing it is my favourite part of the week... Don't tell Instagram. Thinking up episode ideas and getting input from you guys, laying out the content, sitting down to record and I don’t even mind the editing process because it’s pretty therapeutic and satisfying once you get into the zone. It's all great.


I have been able to meet so many new people since beginning the podcast from literally all over the world– I can see the insights on the back end of the hosting platform I use and we have people listening in from Canada, the US, Australia, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, Israel, Ireland, Belgium, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Estonia, Serbia, France, India, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Romania, Italy, Honduras, Slovakia, and Greece. That’s fucking nuts. I love you guys. It means so much to me that people tune in and are interested in learning more about doing furniture makeovers and running a furniture upcycling business.


Although this past year has been an absolute whirlwind filled with so much stuff and has not felt like it was 365 days long, I sat down and started thinking about my experience in starting, running and growing the podcast over this year and I have 6 lessons learned that I wanted to share with you today. Whether you’re interested in starting a podcast of your own one day or not, these are lessons that will be useful to take with you into life into whatever venture you decide to pursue and I think they’re really important to reflect on and take time to acknowledge and appreciate, especially as I move into year 2 of the podcast and everything that will follow with that.


Alright so when I first decided I was going to start a podcast, it was sort of on a whim but I did a bit of research as well before deciding ultimately to pull the trigger and really pursue it. It was during a weekend that my husband was away on a golf trip with his friends and we didn’t have our puppy Yukon yet so that meant I had a lot of free time in my day to do whatever I wanted…. Ahh, the glory days. The dog fills up my heart like I could never imagine but what I wouldn’t give to go back and relive those carefree days of waking up whenever I wanted, not having to schedule my day around walk, eating and poop times and dealing with the seemingly never ending teething stage… anyways, I digress.


So during that time, I was getting closer and closer to the point of being ready to pull the trigger and go full-time in the business, I think it was just a couple of weeks after this that I decided to give my notice to my employer, and so I was thinking a lot more about big picture stuff for the business. I remember I had downloaded a bunch of podcast episodes from some of the new marketing gurus I had recently discovered like Amy Porterfield, John Lee Dumas and Jenna Kutcher. If you’re looking for marketing podcasts, they have a ton of information-packed episodes if you want to check them out. And in one episode of Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast she was discussing her backstory of when she decided to start a podcast, what went into it, and some of the programs and tech she used for it. The episode had a call to action for a webinar she had on evergreen, presumably to sell you a digital course on how to start a podcast, but I decided to enroll in the webinar to see what additional tips she shared there because I had been intrigued by the podcast episode and info shared there. So the following morning I got up, waited for the start time, grabbed a big cup of coffee, snuggled up in a fuzzy blanket on the couch and grabbed my notebook and wrote out 2 pages of notes, writing down anything that seemed like useful tidbits or questions that came up in my mind that she didn’t answer as things to research later. Once it was over, I knew I was interested in the concept and did some additional research to fill in those missing blanks, do a market scan to see how many other furniture painting and refinishing podcasts were out there (spoiler alert: not that many at all and really, there was only one that was popular), and then did a search on my podcast player for other episodes that people had made about podcasting and sharing their tips and lessons learned. I downloaded a bunch, went for a 2 hour walk around my area with my AirPods and podcasts playing in my ears and by the time I made it home, had made the decision in my head that I was going to start a podcast.


Now that might seem like a really quick decision to make, but that was intentional. Indecision is my middle name (not actually, it’s actually Lynn, named after my paternal grandmother, thanks for asking!) and so as I have gotten into business and made the decision to try and grow it and get intentional with pursuing it, one of the promises I had made to myself was that I wasn’t going to overthink and sit on decisions for too long. I would evaluate the options, do some research but not get bogged down in a rabbit hole doing it, and then make the decision that I could feel in my bones I was leaning towards. I would give it a certain amount of time of actively pursuing that decision, and then I would re-evaluate how I was enjoying it, if it was working in the way I thought I would, and then either continue doing what I was doing, make some changes and keep going, or decide to stop and go in another direction. Allowing myself that freedom to not feel obligated to stick with it if it felt like I was trying to swim against the current made me excited to give it a try, give it my all, but not allow myself to feel too tied to it if it wasn’t for me. If you are someone that often feels that paralysis by analysis and can get stuck in decision-making concrete unable to decide one way or the other, I highly recommend trying to develop this mindset and seeing if it works for you!


One thing I was aware of and weary of when I started, though, was if anyone would actually listen in. Although there wasn’t a ton of podcasts talking about what I wanted to talk about, there is still a lot of options for what to listen out there in general and so it was easy to feel like a piece of sand in the ocean. As of January 2023, there were 3.02 million podcasts out there. However, if you look at “active” podcasts only, which is kind of hard to define but in the research I found, they defined it as one that released at least one episode throughout 2022, that 3.02 million goes down to only 500,000 podcasts. In comparison, the odds seemed not too shabby.


Which leads me to my first lesson learned: there is an audience out there for everyone in the podcasting space. Someone is always willing to listen what you have to say. Even if there is another person talking about the same topic or topics you decide to focus your podcast on, they will still be two completely different shows because you are you and they are them. You bring your own unique experiences, opinions, takes on things, styles of thinking and talking and analyzing which makes you uniquely you. So no matter what you say, what direction you decide to take it, someone is out there that is willing to listen to you and is interested in hearing what you have to say. Period.


So remember that, even if we broaden it past the context of podcasts: on social media, in your email marketing, if you want to write a book, if you want to host seminars or a TedTalk or whatever it may be, there is an audience out there that wants to hear what you have to say. So don’t let your fear of failure or your lack of self-confidence hold you back because you’re scared of the potential of seeing that number be 0 for a little while before people start to discover it and get hooked. All it takes is persistence and being true to you.


The second lesson learned is that you need to just start. Before you feel ready, before it feels like everything is set up perfectly how you want it to be in its end form, before everything is polished and pristine. Because there’s no such thing as being completely ready and you’re never going to feel like you’ve got it all figured out– once you hit the point of feeling slightly more excited than you are afraid, that’s when you hit the ground running. I knew that I didn’t know everything about sound engineering and search engine optimization and hosting and growing a podcast when I first started. But I started with learning the basics of how to get it up and running, I researched people’s lessons learned to hopefully avoid the growing pains they had to deal with, I made sure I had enough ideas to last for a little while for podcast topics while I knew things would be slower moving because I was still learning, and then I went for it.


I didn’t have the perfect podcast cover art, my description wasn’t as search engine optimized as it is now, I wasn’t as comfortable with being so up front and personal recording my raw voice for the world to hear, but I went for it anyway. And then over time I fine tuned as I went on, I dedicated time to learning more and seeking out more resources to learn from and listening to podcast coaches. In time, I have gotten more comfortable with it simply due to the repeated exposure to it. And I have also developed systems, workflows and automations that have made it quicker and easier to plan, record, edit, put together, schedule, and market each episode so that I can spend less time every week having to dedicate to it.


Rome wasn’t built in a day, my friends, and I still work hard every day to do better and learn more so what I’m doing today will likely look different from when I write a similar blog post another year from now and talk about what I learned during year 2. And what a great way to be able to share with you the things I mess up along the way so that you can skip them, should you ever decide you’d like to pursue making a podcast of your own one day and get inspired from me in the way that Jenna’s podcast inspired me to start.


My third lesson learned was that it’s actually way easier than you would probably think to start and create a podcast and maintain it consistently. Granted, I do my podcasts as audio-only while some people integrate a video element which adds some costs, time and effort to the mix (which, for the record, is why I decided to keep it audio-only.. Do you have any idea how long it takes for me to do my hair and make-up? Ain’t nobody got time for that). But that’s the beauty of podcasting- you can do as much or as little as you want and it will still meet the mark for some people. Would more people watch/listen if I also had a video element? Maybe, maybe not. But I did a cost-benefit analysis of what would be most sustainable for me long-term, even if things in my business got more busy, and this was what I deemed worked best for me. And so far so good, so you can determine whatever is best for you, too! And that’s not to say that eventually I couldn’t add in that video element if I wanted to. Or if you added it in and determined you wanted to stick to audio-only, you could go down to that. I feel like people tend to put a lot of expectations on themselves based on what they think people want or think is expected of them.. I try to avoid that and just stick to my wants, needs and desires and hope that the right people find me. Life’s too short to not do whatever the fuck you want, remember that.


And if starting up your own podcast is something that you have been thinking of and you would love to learn more about what I learned in how to start it, name it, host it, get people to find it and then market it continually and all that good stuff, a quick shameless plug for a reminder that you could sit me down and learn all of that if you became a coaching and consulting client of mine. I typically market these services as helping you to start or grow your furniture painting and refinishing businesses however I am always more than happy to share whatever it is I know and have learned in this space– including about specific projects I’ve taken on, like starting a podcast! A client I’m currently working with reached out and isn’t even in the furniture refinishing space but just wanted to pick my brain about growing a following on social media and reaching the right people for her services she sells– I’ve been living and breathing social media for over 3 years now so I was more than happy to accommodate. So if this is something that interests you in checking out, head to MelDidItHerself.ca/services.


My fourth lesson learned in my first year of podcasting is about the nature of podcasts in general– they are one of the most quickly growing marketing strategies out there right now. And this wasn’t something I was super aware of at the time that I started, but I am now hearing so many chief marketing officers and content entrepreneurs talking about how valuable a platform podcasting is. Which is just like a cherry on top of the cake because I already love doing it so much and I feel like I can really authentically be myself in this medium by just freely talking like this and not having the pressure of a camera on me, a particular time limitation or feeling the need to make the content mesh well with a trending sound or something like on social media.


We are seeing larger corporations start to really invest in and promote podcasts and podcasting recently too which is a good indication of where the market is heading– YouTube now has a specific spot where they highlight podcasts on the platform and Spotify recently acquired Anchor which is a podcast hosting platform, so if they are investing that much money into these kinds of things then you know they are probably going to be going hard with promoting and pushing this content in the future because they see the value in it.


And the reason, from my understanding at least, that it’s such a valuable marketing strategy for businesses is because anyone who is a listener of a podcast is usually pretty tuned in to that podcast. I know for me, I have my rotation of maybe 5-10 podcast shows that I follow and listen to on the regular, I tune in when they have a new episode and if I get busy and miss episodes right when they are released, I’ll go back and get caught up later on when I have the time. It’s also a way to get right into someone’s ears and talk directly to a lot of people, and you have a much larger chance of that information and episode ending up being consumed by someone than, say, an Instagram Reel you put out. If you didn’t know, the current stats on Instagram is that less than 6% of your following will typically be seeing the content that you put out there so… do with that information what you’d like.


My fifth lesson learned in this first year of the podcast is more of a reminder of an important life lesson that I continually learn and re-learn over time, which is to just take the road less travelled when you feel called to it. Don’t feel the need to do what everyone else is doing because you assume it is the best thing to do or the right thing to do or the most effective thing to do. That’s like sheep following the herd. If you have an idea that you think you will enjoy but you don’t necessarily see a bunch of other people doing it, just give it a go and see what happens. When you pursue the things that feel right (even when everyone else isn’t doing it), things will feel aligned and effortless for the most part because you stayed true to yourself and your desires. Those are the things that you get excited to wake up to do in the morning and feel like “get to do’s” instead of “have to do’s”. What a blessing that is to have, and to be able to meet awesome new people while doing it and ideally be able to eventually monetize it? #Goals.


The sixth, and last harsh and ruthless lesson I have learned over the last year is that when you start a podcast, unfortunately you will just inevitably have to hear the annoying shit you do and say when you talk. Having to listen to your own voice is definitely gross and cringey at first but I found I got used to that after awhile, although if ever an episode starts playing on my phone when someone else is in the car or room with me I instinctively go EW STOP. But even worse, you find out the weird noises you make when you inhale or how nasal you sound saying certain words, or you discover how frequently you add in filler words unbeknownst to you. For the record, mine are like, umm, and you know. And It drives me nuts, but I can’t stop it, though I do try to be more aware of it now in my day-to-day conversations because now I know how much it drives me crazy. So get ready for that, should you ever decide to give it a go!


And something you may not know about me… I love little motivational messages. They literally always get me fired up, and I keep a running list of ones that are especially catchy or speak to me in the Notes app on my phone. So I end every blog post with one of those that I have noted down over the years, in hopes that you leave our time here each week feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to take on whatever comes your way that week.


So this week’s Mel’s motivational message is from Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday: The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction.


Alright, that’s it for now, I appreciate your time, and I’ll catch you guys next week!


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