2 microphones, a laptop, and an idea. That’s how it all began.
When I first launched #impact Podcast in spring 2017 all I intended was to do just that – start a Podcast. I thought that’s all it was: I envisioned an on-demand interview-style audio show that would get people inspired to think about our world’s most pressing issues in a way that didn’t make them feel hopeless or sad but instead encouraged to start making small changes in their life and find ways to help. I started my podcast because I wanted to listen to a show exactly like this and I couldn’t find one. So I figured, well, why not make my own?
I anticipated challenges ahead, and I knew that I would learn tons, but there were many surprises along the way. One of my goals today is to inspire others to become podcasters, so I wrote this article for my friends at Green Queen in order to share my many learnings with you and hopefully, inspire you to start your own podcast.
1. Ask for help- it’s hard, but oh so necessary
I usually pride myself on the fact that I can figure things out on my own. As a first-time solo-founder, I needed to – but also wanted to! – be able to take care of everything myself.
It was only when I fell pregnant with my second daughter and prepared for my maternity break in the autumn of 2017 that I knew I had to make a change. I wanted to keep the Podcast production going, but I was well aware that it would be impossible to do so while taking care of my newborn and my toddler.
As it turned out, this was a turning point for my Podcast as it opened up new opportunities to mentor others as they became co-hosts at #impact. It was beautiful to see how they grew into their roles and how they became better hosts with each recording.
2. Having a vision is great, having a shared vision is greater
It was when I started asking for help and invited others to join me at #impact, encouraging them to take on roles within the organisation, that I felt that my vision for #impact really came to life.
While I was caring for my newborn, I became a listener of #impact Podcast and observed how listeners engaged with the episodes that the co-hosts produced. This was magical. I realised then, that #impact has already turned into a movement that empowered others to tell stories they are passionate about too.
It wasn’t something that was only important to me, it was something that others wanted to be part of as well.
3. Build and nurture relationships- they are powerful
When I first started #impact I had zero contacts in the social impact space in Hong Kong. I anticipated that interviewing people would help me build meaningful relationships with them but what I had not expected was the amazing domino effect each interview brought along with it.
Whenever I interviewed someone, they would have more suggestions of who I could/should connect with. All of a sudden their network became my network too.
It is this community of featured guests that keeps me going even when I face setbacks and doubts. Having constant reminders in the form of the audio recordings we did is such a motivation boost and drives me in everything I do.
4. Take yourself seriously- then others will too
I have learned that I can be braver and more confident about what I have had to offer over the last few years. It does not matter that I am a first-time founder who makes tons of mistakes along the way, my experience is just as valid as someone who has been in the game for much longer.
Once I took myself, my ambitions and vision for my Podcast seriously and stopped making it smaller than it was, others started to take me seriously too.
That dawned on me when I started to get invited to share my ideas on (TEDx) stages. In the beginning, I felt these recognitions were what helped me to gain confidence, but looking back I realise that it was around that time when I received my first speaking invitations that I had already started to use a different, more confident language when I spoke about my Podcast.
5. Cut out the distractions- this is YOUR journey
It took me a while to realise how important it is to be mindful of not getting distracted by what others are doing in my space. Once I stopped comparing myself to others and their journey, things started to fall into place.
I allowed myself to be okay with where I am at with my business, instead of chasing after milestones that I thought were important to reach at a certain moment in time. I focused on actually being okay with where I am right now.
That does not mean I am not looking for inspiration and role models. I am always looking to approach everything with a learning mindset, with an aim to improve and get better at what I offer my community, not to mention ways to make my impact business more sustainable.
Another thing I had to learn on my own was that while people mean well with their advice and suggestions on how I should run my Podcast, in the end, I am the one who is living it and I have to be okay with the way I am running it.
6. Aim for the stars, but be okay with things not working out too
If someone would have told me that one day I would be interviewing that very radio host that I had been listening to for 20+ years, or that I would be able to sit down and interview former Bloomberg Anchor and forkast news founder Angie Lau, I would have called them crazy.
I was definitely aiming for the stars with both of those, but of course, there is a flip side too. We are all too often only sharing the success stories, leaving out all the “no’s”, the epic fails, the small and big mishaps that happen so much more often than the things that end up working out.
In that spirit, I want to share with you one of my big defeats of the past few years. One thing I was really excited about was running an #impact Awards Event. I had already found really great location options, aligned collaboration partners and people that wanted to help out with the planning and organising of the event.
But I just could not keep up. I did not have the resources that were necessary to make it happen. When I decided that I could not run the event I felt I let everyone down – my featured guests that I had promised to include in my Awards show, the potential location partners that were excited about the plans, the people that had reached out that wanted to support me with the Awards event and mostly, I was disappointed in myself.
This taught me that grand goals and dreams are fantastic but that I have to stay flexible and adjust when necessary and that it’s okay to listen to my gut and that’s what I did then when I let the Awards idea go – at least for now.
As for listening, there was a big AHA moment too.
7. Listening is key
I thought I was a good listener before I started my Podcast but editing my first recordings was an eye-opening experience. Being able to listen back to these conversations and really hear what was being said, gave me so many new insights.
I noticed a lot of subtle nuances in my guests’ tone of voice that indicated something that was said in between the lines, a long pause they took before answering a question or the specific words and language they used or even the exact way they framed their experiences.
How had I missed it whilst sitting across from them, I wondered? Why am I only hearing this now?
I anticipated that running my Podcast would make me a better communicator, helping me to get better at expressing my own thoughts, and yes, that happened.
But since I have been running #impact, I have become so much better at listening too and I have discovered that being silent and listening to what the other side has to say, is incredibly powerful. Listening intentionally with an open heart and mind is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated skills in today’s world, and one we should all nurture.
8. Getting mentorship and coaching is crucial
One of the biggest (and humblest) learnings from running my Podcast business is the importance of getting a great coach and finding mentors to help you make steady progress. I have to be honest, it is not always comfortable to be made aware of the things that I need to improve on by my coach.
But having someone looking at my business from the outside, with fresh eyes, steering me, guiding me and pushing me out of my comfort zone – that has been one of the best investments I have made since turning my Podcast passion project into an impact business.
If I would start my Podcast again today, I would also not hesitate to sign up for a Course or Mentorship Programme to get guidance from someone who has walked the talk.
Back when I started my Podcast, I could not find any Podcasting course that resonated with me, so I did it all on my own, spending 400+ hours on getting my Podcast off the ground. A crazy amount of time. Today I know it does not need to be that hard and it doesn’t need to take so much time either.
I now help others to build their own Podcast from scratch by investing 3 hours a week into my programme. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see my first mentees go through the course and find the guidance I wish I would have had when I first started out.
Since starting #impact, I have met so many people with ambitions to make an impact who felt that their little contribution would not make a difference, or that it wouldn’t matter, or that simply didn’t know where or how to start. I’m here to show them they can absolutely make a difference.
If I had to choose one thing on this list, I would say that the most important thing I learned from founding my Podcast is that one person can make an impact. It might look like something so little at first but it still amazes me what 2 microphones + 1 laptop + 1 idea turned into, how much I learned along the way and how much it impacted not just my community but also, me.
Want to start your own Podcast? Join Regina’s Start A Podcast programme, a 10-week online crash course with step-by-step guides, video training, checklists, templates and tools so you can make an impact too.
Lead image courtesy of Regina Larko.