The Freelancers' Show 132 - Running a Successful Podcast with Mandy Moore

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Mandy Moore joins the panelists to talk about how to run a successful podcast.


[This episode is sponsored by LessAccounting. Are you looking for a system that makes it easy to track all your expenses, income and your budget? Is QuickBooks too much of a pain for you? It was, for me, and I switched to LessAccounting and I love it. It makes things really easy to keep track of and it gives me a lot of charts and graphs to make it easy for me to look at and just know where I'm at with my expenses and everything else. One of the owners, Allan Branch, and his son have written a book for entrepreneurs’ children that talks about what entrepreneurs do and why they're important. If you're interested in that, you can go to]** [This episode is brought to you by Code School. Code School offers interactive online courses in Ruby, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and iOS. Their courses are fun and interesting and include exercises for the student. To level up your development skills, go to]****[This episode is brought to you by ProXPN. If you are out and about on public Wi-Fi, you never know who might be listening. With ProXPN, you no longer have to worry. ProXPN is a VPN solution which sends all of your traffic over a secure connection to one of their servers around the world. To sign up, go to and use the promo code tmtcs (short for teach me to code screencasts) to get 10% off for life]****CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 132 of the Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone. CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hey. CHUCK: Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Hello. CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from, and this week we have a guest – and that is Mandy Moore. MANDY: Hi everybody. CHUCK: So before we get started guys, I just want to remind everybody that we’re going to be doing the live Q&A on October 7th and we’re going to be just answering questions from the audience. So, you show up, you’re in the chat room, it’s going to be on a Google+ hangout. We’re just going to give answers to questions and talk through stuff and figure out how we can help you have better business. We’re going to have video and audio. Anyway, look forward to that. And yeah, let’s get started. I think we’ve had you on the show enough so people know who you are, but you want to do a brief intro anyway? MANDY: Sure. I’m Mandy and I am known as either @therubyrep or I just incorporate my own business and now DevReps is up and running, and we’re taking on more clients. But the main thing that I find myself doing on a daily basis is running podcasts, managing, editing. CHUCK: Man, sounds like a lot of work. MANDY: It is, I’m not going to lie. Each podcast probably takes me between three and five hours to get out the door. REUVEN: Three to five hours for an hour-long podcast – that’s sounds like an enormous amount of work to me, and certainly more than I would’ve expected, even being on this podcast for as long as I have. MANDY: Yeah. CHUCK: Yeah, for me it sounds about right. Having done podcast production myself, you usually spend 3 to 4 times as long as the recording is, to edit it, if you want to do a really good job on it. MANDY: Three to five hours is not just editing. See, a lot of people don’t understand the maintenance that goes into actually getting a show put together. I do more than just edit. I get the guests. I confirm with guests. I explain the guests what the show is about and how it works and how to get connected and how to prepare. And then after that, you have the editing process, and then I go back and do show notes with timestamps and links and all sorts of things. And then actually going in and putting guest names into a database that sends out a follow up email that says, “Hey, thanks for coming on the show. We really appreciate it. Do you have maybe any suggestions, or any contacts for another show?” And then the whole scheduling thing comes up again and again and it’s just a constant loop of maintenance and preparation. And each show really – I, at least, put in a lot of care into every show. CHUCK:**Yeah and I have to point out that she’s much more detail oriented than I am. So when I would edit the shows and do that kind of stuff, I would just make something up of the show. [Laughter] “Here’s the general gist of what we talked about. Here are some of the interesting points.” And I would take a few notes during the show. In editing I wasn’t really detail oriented either – I mean I cut out the major things but I wasn’t always super interested in doing that kind of editing and things like that. So that’s why we have Mandy do it. [Chuckles]**CURTIS: So what was the biggest thing you thought improved when Mandy jumped in, Chuck? CHUCK: She actually goes in and clears out a lot more of the things, the ums, the ahs and you knows, and the empty space and things like that. The stuff that I just didn’t pay a lot of attention to – she does it way better than I do on that. And so the shows flow much more smoothly. The other thing that took a vast improvement was the show notes. She does a way better job on that than I do. Mainly it’s just because she actually makes sure the timestamps are in there and then goes through and puts detailed notes in there, as to what’s in it. And then she also stays on top of the transcriptionists to get the work done there, so just overall, it’s been really, really awesome. REUVEN: Can you walk us through it? Because obviously we come do the show every week and we sort of go away and magically it appears on the web. Can you walk us through maybe the process of the show? What happens before it happens? What happens – well obviously during, we know, to some degree at least, and then afterwards as well. MANDY: Yeah. So, like I said, the first step is finding your guests. And you get a lot of those through referrals and past guests and stuff, if you make sure to follow up with them, and then explaining the recording process. I have a guest checklist that I have maintained for every single show and every guest checklist is different. If Chuck’s okay with it, I’ll put an example of one in the show notes that people can see the kinds of things that the guests should prepare for. CHUCK: Yeah, go in and put the one up for this show. MANDY:**Okay. Yeah, I will do that. And then sending out the calendar invitations, a big part of it is coordinating time zones. When you have a lot of people from different time zones on each podcast, and have to be like, “okay well it’s going to be this time Pacific Time, this time Eastern Time, and this time is your time. Making sure they show up at the right time is also a big thing. And then as far as the process goes, and you guys come in and you record the show, and when it’s done, I ask Chuck to put the raw audio in either a .wav or .aiff form into Dropbox. I have a shared folder for every podcast that I produce; there are individual folders so things stay organized that way. And then I import the raw audio into Audacity, I run the primary filters, compression, noise removal and leveler. And then I listen to both the beginnings and endings of the recording where the panelists and guests may have instructions for me or of things to look for or go back and remove because they realize they shouldn’t have said that, or they just don’t want it in there anymore. So I listen to that kind of stuff and sometimes in the pre-show, you guys would just be talking and being like “Oh, this would be a really good guest or a topic to have on a future show” so then I need to make note of that and I have a folder in Evernote that just says, “Freelancers’ Show Guest Ideas.” I put so and so in there and be like “Oh well maybe in a few weeks because the schedules kind of full, I’ll reach out to this person and see if they’ll come on the show.” So you may not know that you’re giving me instructions, but I take notes. Then I cut those out, and find an opening joke if there is one, for the show, and then we cut into the intro music. I’ll put the intro music in, all the sponsorship messages, and then just go into the show. Like Chuck said, I eliminate awkwardness, the long pauses - when people need moments to think and form words and sentences. I take out ums and ahs, stuttering, repeated words, and overly used phrases. One of Chuck’s overly used phrases is “That makes sense.” [Chuckles]**CHUCK: Mm-hm. Eric:**That makes sense. [Laughter]**REUVEN:**That’s funny to me because I would think that that’s content that you would not want to take away, but now that you say that, well that makes sense. [Laughter]**MANDY: Yeah, just sometimes you have overly used phrases and I can’t really think of more on the top of my head, but sometimes –. REUVEN: I’ll go get my wife. She’ll know exactly what phrases I say way too much. MANDY: Well, “You know” is another one. People, they’re like “okay well you know” and then “I know this” and “You know” so then I take out one or three of “you knows” because I don’t think people realize that they’re actually saying it a lot in speech. Another one is “Like.” “Like this” “like that” “you know, like.” If you take out some of those small things, it ends up making the conversation seem a lot more flowing and cohesive, and less amateur, I guess. It makes it flow better and it makes it nicer. When that’s all done, I put the outro music in, any last sponsorship messages, and then export as MP3; set the metadata so that it shows up in iTunes as podcast in the title, and  the show name; package it into an .mps and deliver into Dropbox. But then, some of the shows that I do, that’s the extent that I do it – I just put it into Dropbox and they take the rest. Some of them, they want show notes. Then I just go back, and I go into – I keep everything in Google Docs because I find that it’s nice to have stuff in the cloud so that if god forbid anything happens to my computer, I would just have to get a new computer and sign into my Gmail account and everything is there. So I write all the show notes in Google Docs and when I’m done with that, I share it with the transcriptionists so they have access to the show notes so that they can go back through with their transcripts and see what they should be looking for, and maybe some tech terms that they’re not familiar with, they’re already there that they can see. I put in timestamps and on other important main concepts; I put links to relevant talks and slides and books and blog posts and terms that are talked about, so that people can just follow along on the web as they’re listening, if they want to. Or maybe they just go back and they’re like “Oh well, I really want to see this talk this person was talking about” and they can just go to the show notes and its right there and they don’t have to spend time Googling and trying to find the right talk. The show notes, after those are done, they go to the transcriptionists. Once the transcriptionist is done, then I take all the show notes and the transcripts and put them into a blog post and schedule that to go out at the same time every week. And that’s another thing that I think running a successful podcast – I don’t just do podcasts for Chuck; I do podcasts for other people as well. I find that the shows that have the most success are the ones that maintain a weekly schedule, that are recorded rain or shine, this week, at every time. If some people can’t show up, some people don’t show up – that’s fine. But the shows go on. And that’s why I think that Chuck’s podcasts are so successful is because people know every Thursday they’re going to get a new episode of the Freelancers’ Show. Every Wednesday they’re going to get a new episode of Ruby Rogues or JavaScript Jabber. So I really think if you want to start your own podcast, one of the things you really need to do is make a commitment to your show and say, “This is what’s going to happen every single week.” Because the people who don’t really do that, their podcasts are sporadic and then they don’t get as much publicity and much of a listening range because listeners don’t know what to expect. So I think it’s a really, really good idea that you maintain a schedule and deliver content to your listeners every single week. REUVEN: I completely agree. As a listener to many different podcasts, including Chuck’s other podcasts, coming out on a regular schedule is crucial for me, as a listener, so I think you’re spot on there. MANDY: Yeah. CHUCK: Well, one thing that I found is that people tend to get into a groove with this. So it’s not “Oh, I have a new Ruby Rogues in my podcast app or PodCacher” – is what seems to be the term that I hear for whatever app you use – “and so I’m going to listen to it.” But Ruby Rogues comes out on Wednesdays as does JavaScript Jabber. This show comes out on Thursday as does Adventures in Angular and iPhreaks. People build that into their schedule, so on their morning commute on Wednesday, they’re listening to JavaScript Jabber. So when it doesn’t come out, they notice. And every week that it does come out, it’s just part of their routine. I think that’s a big part of why it’s successful too. So yeah, I’ve had several people tell me that. REUVEN: That’s absolutely true. Yeah, yeah. I mean, now my schedule is a little more helter-skelter than it used to be, but when I was going to a particular client every, I think it was Tuesday and Thursday, I knew which podcast I was going to listen to walking from the train to their office in the morning, and listening in the afternoon. Because I knew what was coming out on what day and what time. I totally agree with that. CHUCK: So one thing I do want to talk about rather quickly, and this is something that the other panelists can probably answer a little better than Mandy or I can – I have some answers to this too – but have you found that the podcast benefits your business at all? I mean, it seems like it’s a good way to get the word out and I’ve seen benefit from the shows that I do, but do you get a benefit from doing the show? REUVEN: I have not had anyone come to me and say, “Wow, you’re on the Freelancers’ Show. I want to hire you as a consultant.” So that sort of fame and fortune has not come my way. However, I would say, I've certainly benefited in two other ways. One is I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover people I know who listen, not just because I’m on here but because they’ve been listening for a while even before I came on. And so, it gives me the warm fuzzies to know that people are listening and benefiting. And I’ve also found that it has benefited my business because talking to you guys and having panelists and raising these issues and thinking about them, has forced me to reconsider all sorts of things about my business and improve it. CHUCK: I’m a little curious in the case of Eric and Curtis because I know that they both have blogs and some products related to freelancing. Has it benefited that at all for you guys? CURTIS: I’ve talked to a lot of people that are interacting with me regularly. They mentioned that they’ve heard me on the Freelancers’ Show as well and I haven’t tracked enough to know if they heard me here first, or if they interacted with me on my site first and then I mentioned that I was on the Freelancers’ Show. But it certainly gets mentioned regularly, and I don’t tell you guys that I got mentioned as much as I should probably. ERIC:**Yeah and I’ve seen a lot of benefit kind of both ways. I’ve had people on my list and I have like 53 now this week - different newsletters - so its 53 weeks of content and a lot of them are actually referenced back to shows. I know one I’m [inaudible 15:45] a lot of stuff about how Michael Port does the Red Velvet Rope Policy, so I actually reference the show. I actually send people my newsletter and on my blog to the certain shows that I know was about a topic, or more details. And then I also have a lot of people that will contact me who have been subscribed for maybe even a year and they’ll be like “Hey, I’ve listened to –” they wouldn’t say the podcast. They’ll say, “Hey, I’ve listened to you on the podcast and I’ve been a subscriber for a long time” and they may give in their email. So there’s a lot of crossover both ways. I think it’s great that we can help people interactively audio-wise like this, and then also I have my newsletter and Curtis has his stuff too. It’s kind of like a community but a very loosely threaded community, which is pretty nice.**CHUCK: So this show – I don’t have any products or anything that directly impacts my business come out of this show in particular, but I have gotten work from the iPhreaks Show. I had some folks that were building an iOS app that needed the Apple Push Notification service integrated, and that worked out very nicely. And then I’ve gotten work from JavaScript Jabber and Ruby Rogues either by mentioning that I needed work by talking to the other panelists or just people contacting me and saying “Hey, I like the show.” The one show that I did that really seemed to get me the most freelancing work was actually a video and it was Teach Me To Code. And I just demonstrated “Here’s how you build this kind of app” and that worked out very, very nicely and I had a lot of people come to me and say, “Hey, I’m really interested in having you build something similar for me.” But that’s really the extent of it. Like I said, I’ve gotten several contracts from doing this kind of thing, so I think content production as a whole is a very efficient way of proving that you have what it takes to do whatever it is that they need. ERIC:**Well let’s be honest, I mean the topic of this show isn’t really catered towards clients and I say this a lot in my newsletters – a lot of freelancers and consultants market to other freelancers and consultants, and that’s a very ineffective way of getting clients. You can, but I don’t want to get into that right now. This show is not really a good way to get our actual consulting clients, but it’s a good way I think to meet with peers, meet with associates, build up – like the community - build up people that maybe in a few years you’re going to work with them or maybe they have some overflow work and you could [inaudible 18:07] now, but also have a sounding board or a large informal mastermind group or something.**MANDY: I’ve gotten work from being on some of the shows. I had somebody contact me last week that had just heard me or caught up to Ruby Rogues and I was on the 100th episode. He said he heard me on there and was wondering if I had time to take him on as a client. I’ve gotten work because people know that I do especially Chuck’s shows, that they’re interested in me helping them. So I’ve definitely gotten work from indirectly being part of the podcasts. CHUCK: Yeah. I know several other podcasters and freelancers that do coaching or specific types of freelancing that they get business off of whatever it is that they’re doing, whatever content they’re putting out there, so the sky is really the limit. Whatever it is that you need or whoever you’re trying to reach, if you’re putting content out that they’re interested in, then there are just endless possibilities for it. CURTIS: I know my content, like my blog, which is similar to these lines – my clients have read that and then said that they made then decision on to use me or someone else based on what I had written about how I run my business. And so, even listening to the podcast – I have a few clients who I know listen to the podcast now after talking to me and then listening to it. They enjoy it even for running their businesses. MANDY: Yeah, another thing that I think that really makes running a successful podcast possible is really involving the community or the community that this podcast that you’re on targets. Putting out there on social media “We just published an episode” or just being on the Freelancers’ Show account and putting out there, “Hey, do you have any recommendations for who we should have on the show or what do you want us to talk about?” and engaging the audiences in that kind of way. Tweeting and retweeting episodes from multiple accounts; I know I always retweet every episode that the Freelancers’ Show puts out from both my personal account and from DevReps’ account. Doing that kind of stuff really, really helps engage the audience and get them involved. CHUCK: Yup. I do want to talk a little bit about the post-show process that I have. I use Office Autopilot. The one thing that I do is I have a series of responses that go out to guests, and so when we have a guest on the show, they get an email almost immediately that says – well as soon as Mandy enters them into Office Autopilot for me – they get an email that says, “Hey, we have this forum. We actually would like you to be a part of the forum” and basically invite them to get involved with us and with what we’re doing. And then after that, I have several others and one of them is “Who else should we get on the show?” Another one is “Do you know anyone who I should talk to about sponsoring the show?” I’m trying to remember all of them – I have one that goes out and asks them to record a bumper so that’s the “Hey, this is so and so, and you’re listening to the show” - that one’s fairly new so none of the shows actually have those on them yet. And then I ask them for referrals. I engage with them four or five times before I let them go off into things. And I wind up talking to some of them more than others, some of them they just reply to each email and then that’s pretty much it. But some of them I have built a relationship with and get excited to see them. So for example, somebody mentioned in the chat – Kirk Bowman, who we did the Value Based Pricing talk with. I saw him at Podcast Movement and I was excited to see him and I talked to him and it was really cool. And a few others I stay in touch with and I email back and forth and stuff like that. There are a lot of benefits to doing it beyond just for my business where I’m building these relationships that I can use to then build my business. REUVEN: I’m curious, how much of this you guys – I mean Chuck and Mandy – learned on your own the hard way and how much you’re in touch with other podcasters? MANDY: I’ve self-taught myself. As a lot of people already know my story, I started doing assistant’s work for Avdi and at the time he was running Wide Teams and he just threw it at me one day and said, “There’s this free program called Audacity, download it, put the audio in, see if you can clean it up, whatever.” So I played around with it, I spent some time on the message boards, asked some questions – some people actually trolled me and they were like “Are you serious?” and I’m like “I’m self-teaching myself. I’m sorry, is this a stupid question?” But I ended it up figuring it out, I started playing with effects on my own, I researched and did other things and just taught myself. By me teaching myself, I was able to teach my fiancé, so he helps me as well as part of the DevReps team in editing episodes of other shows. He’ll even do this show sometimes, but you never know who it is, it could be me or him, and the quality is still the same. So that’s kind of how I got started. Now I’ve been spending some time – I’m taking some courses via Udemy about screencasting. So I’m going to start offering screencasting editing services in the near future, once I finish the course and once I do my first one – I have somebody who’s willing to let me to do their first Pluralsight course editing but I haven’t done it yet and I don’t think he’s ready for me to go yet. But after that’s done and I figure that out I’m going to start that as well. But yeah, I’m definitely self-taught. I’m still learning new things every day. Every time I try to play with things and just put the best possible quality podcasts out there for all my clients as I can. CHUCK: Yeah. So, funny you should mention that. Actually, you already know that I’m starting a screencast series. MANDY: Mm-hm. CHUCK: Anyway, so my story is a little bit different and I’ll summarize the first part of how I got into podcasting. I started listening to podcasts when I was working for a company called Mozy, which is here in the Utah, Salt Lake area. Basically the way that it went was I worked with somebody who had bought an iPod and had gotten into podcasts. So I started listening to podcasts and I talked one of the podcasters I was listening to – some of you guys probably know Gregg Polack – and he encouraged me to get started with podcasting. And I actually did a couple of screencasts for Teach Me To Code when my friend Eric was running it. And so, I got started there. I actually had Tech – is it TechSmith that does Camtasia? They actually donated a license for Camtasia and the microphone and so I was really excited about it. I started listening to Podcast Answer Man so I picked up a lot of stuff there. I did an interview show, I did about 81 or 82 episodes of that, before we started doing Ruby Rogues and some of the other stuff. And I was also doing the Teach Me To Code screencast which I’ve already talked about. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed doing the podcasts and the screencasts, and that’s kind of how I got started. So my process before I started handing things off to Mandy – I was actually using and still use Adobe Audition, which is a paid program. I think it was a little bit nicer than Audacity but Audacity works just fine. So to answer the second question, which I think is more relevant to where I’m at now, being involved in the podcasting community, I go to at least two podcasting conferences now each year. I go to New Media Expo which has been in January in Las Vegas, but they currently moved it so that it’s now going to be in Las Vegas in April around the same time as the National Association of Broadcasters convention. And then there’s another one that’s called Podcast Movement that is in Dallas in August, so I went to that one a month or so ago. The podcasting community is very vibrant and it’s a lot of fun to be involved in. I’ve known several of the people there for a while. I was involved in Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcast Mastermind which was kind of an elite group in his community of people who were into and interested in podcasting, and so I’ve been very involved there. I’m part of the Podcasters’ Paradise which is run by John Lee Dumas, who was also on the show. And so, I stayed pretty involved and I’m actually involved to the point where that is starting to affect my business in a different way and that is, is that I’ve begun building services that I want because the ones out there either I don’t like or for one reason or another just don’t work for me. So I’m building services in Ruby on Rails for those markets and so I’m talking to a lot of folks. And then the other thing that I’m doing staying involved with the community, I’m actually putting together a Kickstarter and kind of a storyboard for an iPhone app for podcasters because I’ve had several people actually ask me what it would take to build a mobile app for their show. And so, there are several different things going on in the community that I’m not only involved in, but I’m pushing ahead and finding opportunities for my business. All in all it’s been really a lot of fun and really fascinating to participate in. MANDY: Now, Chuck would you recommend, those kinds of things that you just said, are they mostly for people who run podcasts or host podcasts? Or would it be something that you would recommend me as just an editor to start getting involved in? CHUCK: Some of the tools it would probably benefit somebody as an editor like you to at least know, to understand how to use it. So if somebody decides “I want to do a podcast” and then they say, “I’m using this tool” then it can come down to “Okay well I already to know how to use this tool.” Some of the other things, with like the iPhone app and stuff, that’s something that people are interested in, but I don’t know that that’s something that you as an editor would necessarily need to understand unless there’s an involved backend on it. MANDY: Gotcha. CHUCK: But you will be involved in the building process for that, because I’m going to need you to manage a lot of that stuff for my shows. MANDY: Good to know. CHUCK: Anyway, so I am very involved in the podcasting community to answer your question – I just answered that in a very long way. And there are a lot of resources out there for people who want to start podcasts. I get a lot of questions that I wind up answering for people too. I’ve been podcasting for 6 years? And I really enjoy it. It’s kind of my other hobby or other love in addition to programming. One thing I do want to talk about that is interesting in this conversation is the opportunities to grow your list and do the marketing and things like that, that are associated with the podcasts. These are the things that I’ve been thinking about lately and been working on – the webinar that we’re going to do on October 7th is one of those things, where there are opportunities now to engage with people either via online medium like the webinar or just via email, as people get into the email list. I’m kind of curious, if you guys had a podcast that you did on your own, would you brand it toward your various clients and things? What would you do? How would you build marketing around that? Because it’s kind of the top of the funnel. CURTIS: I think you need to look with the whole goal, the podcast right? As I already said, this podcast doesn’t necessarily reach my core clients, at least where I make my most money right now, which is development work. So if I was looking for a podcast for them, it would answer questions that they have, so I even take questions I get during emails from them or anything like that and answer it in the podcast forum so that I can answer it for lots of other potential clients as well. MANDY: Well, if I did, what I would probably focus on doing assistant work. CHUCK: My friend Cliff did that. You might want to go check out his The Virtual Assistant Podcast. MANDY: Oh, cool. REUVEN: I’m just not sure if a podcast is necessarily the best way for me to reach the people that I’m interested in, because right now – I mean I’ve been doing a lot of training for a while in addition to development work, and I’m not really sure if that’s the right medium on regular podcasts for dealing with such things. However, I mean the webinar that I tried last week, was just a huge success from my perspective. And so, I mean if you want to call it a podcast but more of a screencast and doing it say, not once a week but I definitely plan to do this say, once a month. In that sense, I’m actually looking to excite people who are interested in getting this sort of training and then hiring me to do it more. They see me for an hour, then maybe they’ll be interested in me doing it more. But it wouldn’t be as a regular ongoing podcast, I don’t think. CHUCK:Yeah, that makes sense. So one thing that I’ve thought about doing is actually setting one up for Lean startup or something similar, or for business people and understanding technology and things like that, because that’s much more along the lines of the people that I want to work for. And so, then I would be setting up – and I’m planning on doing this for my current shows, is setting up the email list, where people get in and they get a bunch of good content in their email and then at the same time we also get the opportunity to tell them about some of the things that we’re doing that could make a difference for them. And from there, then we can work things out so that we can tell them about products that they want or find out what they need, and then give them opportunities to get it from us and things like that. One of the things that I’m trying out is the webinars; we've talked about that. I’m looking at doing the same thing. I’m starting a video series on how to do specific things with Ruby on Rails. There was a [inaudible 31:38] screencast series in the past called RailsCasts that did the same thing, and so I’m going to try and pick up where Ryan left off to a certain degree, and do that kind of thing, and I’m calling mine RailsClips. And so, one of the things that I’m planning on doing to market that is I’m going to take the opportunity to go with an audience that’s very similar, that being Ruby Rogues. I’m going to give them the opportunity to sign up for a webinar and then I’m going to invite some of the people in the Ruby community that I know, that I’m connected to, to do a webinar or a series of webinars where we talk about maybe the upcoming features in Rails 4.2 which is coming out soon-ish. Or have somebody come on and talk about a specific kind of architecture that’s related to that. And so, not specifically to my freelancing business, but to another place where I’m going to be marketing and making money. I’m going to be drawing people into that because as they sign up for the webinar and they join the mailing list and they do all of the other things that I am enticing them and inviting them to do and then giving them so much value to where they’re extremely happy to have done it, then I can turn around and I can market a product or a service that makes sense for them. That’s the kind of thing that I’m looking to do with these other shows. They may not be my products, they may not be services that I perform myself, but they’re going to be products and services that I believe will help those folks. Does that make sense?MANDY: Oh yeah. REUVEN: Yes, definitely. Let’s say someone decides, “Podcasting is totally the thing that I want to do for my business. It’s going to push me forwards. It’s going to make me an authority. It’s going to get me well known. And of course, make me rich and famous.” So my question is: What first steps should they take? Someone who’s interested in podcasting, what should they do? And what should they hire someone else to do? Since you guys – I mean especially Chuck – you’ve really sung the praises of having someone do a lot of its work for you. CHUCK:The real trick is, is finding something that you know you’re going to stick with. For example, I’ve talked to several podcasters out there, podcast coaches, podcast people, and it seems like the majority of the people who start a podcast and get going with podcasting, they pick something that they think is going to make them rich or is going to make their business x times better than whatever. And they get all excited about it and then it turns out they’re not passionate about it. When I say passionate, I don’t mean you start drooling over it and that’s the only thing you ever think about and blah blah blah; when I say passionate I mean you’re interested enough in it to where you could talk about it a lot. So, they wind up in a position where they start the show and they just kind of disappear after a while. It’s unfortunate because they miss out on an opportunity to really capitalize on something. And so, you run out of content, you run out of interest, and you just quit. Most people quit before they get through 5 or 6 episodes. So I think that’s the first major thing, is just find something that you love to talk about. And so for me, it’s programming and I talk about it a lot because I have 5 shows that I do every week where I’m talking about it. The next thing is, is that people get intimidated by the equipment. I’ve heard podcasts that are recorded by plugging the earbuds that come with your iPhone into your headphone jack, and they sound fine. So don’t freak out over the equipment – yes, equipment is nice to have, but not essential. Those are a couple of things that I see people run into. Just start. That’s the next thing. Just start. You can submit to iTunes. The other places that I recommend people submit to are Stitcher Radio – you just have to scroll all the way to the bottom and then it’s like the provider portal or whatever you call it – is what you’re looking for. So then the next thing that you want to do is besides finding that essential thing that you can talk about, you need some more work done, I recommend to people that they don’t use a white or black background. It seems like the colored backgrounds that we have, and then just nice looking artwork with the name of the show on it, seems to really engage people the most. And if you don’t have artwork or you don’t have nice artwork, you’re less likely to get clicks in iTunes. And it’s funny because this is what I’ve been doing – I’ve been coaching two other new podcasters the last week or so and just talking to them and saying “This is what I like, this is what I don’t like” related to podcasting and also just with what they’re doing, giving them feedback and telling them how to get started. So if you’re on iTunes or Stitcher, if your content is relevant to it, in other words if it’s not like anti-Microsoft, you also want to submit to the Microsoft store, and you just send an email to and they’ll figure it out. The next thing that I want to talk a little bit about is posting, I recommend ( The difference is, is if you store your files on Amazon AWS, then you get charged for storage and bandwidth, and so if you have a long-running show eventually it will be much more cost effective to use something like Libsyn. Just keep that in mind. One other thing that you want to make sure that you’re doing is, like Mandy said, make sure that you’re consistent every week or every day or however often. And you can just tell people that. One other thing that really helps is if you know who your audience is. So then at the beginning at the show you can say something like “We’re the show that shows business people how to think about technology.” And so then what that does is when a business person who is struggling with figuring out how to use technology or to know what technology to use, they automatically self-identify as a listener for that show. We get away with that a little bit with some of our shows just because people self-identify just off the title “I’m a freelancer, I’m a Ruby developer, I’m a JavaScript developer, blah blah blah, on and on and on.” So you get an idea there of what we’re talking about, but that also really helps. You also need to figure out what format you want – so all of these shows are all panel discussions, the screencasts are “How to do this with Rails” and then you have stuff like interview shows. But overall, figure out what your format is and stick to it and make sure it’s consistent with what you want people to get out of your show. I think the most important thing is just really finding something that you want to talk about, that you like to talk about, that you want to share with other people, that you want to engage with other people, and then just sticking with it. The one other thing that I tell people a lot is don’t focus on the numbers. So a lot of people they get going, they’ve been doing it for 2 months, and they know about some show that gets thousands and thousands and thousands of downloads and then they get frustrated right? Because they only have a few hundred people listening and they’re looking at those numbers and they’re feeling bad. But the thing is, is if you know what you want to get out of the show, and so in my case I love engaging with people and figuring out “okay, this helped you out, how can I make your life better” stuff like that. I hear these stories and I get excited and I’m happy to hear them. So that’s kind of the thing there – get to know your listeners, and find out who they are and that’ll a.) help you focus your show and make it better, but the other thing is those are the people that really matter. And so, if you know 10 of your 100 listeners and you know who they are, and what they do for work, and what makes them tick, and what their hobbies are, and et cetera, et cetera, and then you really get the feeling of “Okay, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. This is how I’m making a difference.” And that’s really what’s going to carry you through; it’s not because you have thousands of people listening. But yeah, that’s the gist of what I tell people when they want to start a podcast.REUVEN: I mean, obviously I know what a panel podcast is but don’t we do interviews on a fairly regular basis or are you talking about one-on-one interviews? CHUCK: It’s more one-on-one interviews. With a panel, when we have a guest, it’s a little bit different because they more or less join the panel and so everybody is still expected to chime in and stuff even if we do let the guest talk a little bit more than we do. With the interview podcast your job is to make the interviewer look good. And if you do a good job of that then you get the credit for bringing them in, you get the credit for asking the right questions and understanding the topic well enough to carry on a good conversation about it. But with the panel discussion I feel it’s a little bit different because a lot of times the other panelists on the show have experience too and so by having more of a discussion – since that’s the way we’re set up since we have several people on the show – we can have that discussion and make it work. And in some cases, with the Daniel Pink interview, it was more of an interview. We asked him questions and stuff. But with other guests, it seems to work much better if we have things to add on our own. So if you have something to throw out there on your own you are welcome to do that because it is a panel discussion; it’s not an interview per se. And it really does come down to the guest and what they’re looking to get out of it but you have that flexibility with the panel and you don’t really have that as a host interviewing people. And so, you don’t really want to talk about “I” unless it’s augmenting something that your guest has said in a one-on-one interview. Because if you go on your own monologue in an interview where you’re talking about yourself and not really shining the spotlight on them then a lot of times it just feels weird. But that’s pretty much it. You also should do some homework when you interview somebody, so that you understand the types of things they’re going to talk about and be conversant in those things so that you can draw out the details that are really kind of the big, juicy, important bits. And then just make it conversational. REUVEN: Sounds good. CHUCK: And don’t sweat editing. Don’t spend ten million years editing because when you start out you’re going to be doing it yourself and it’s more important to get the content out there and make sure that it’s okay. And then as time goes on then you can get to the point where you either hire somebody like Mandy or you just get good enough to where it doesn’t take you as long to get as good a quality out of your interview, or rather out of your podcast. Anything else we should talk about? Mandy is there anything in our process that I haven’t brought up? MANDY: Not that I can think of. CHUCK: Alright. Should we do some picks? MANDY: Let’s do it. REUVEN: Yes. CHUCK: Eric, do you want to some picks for us? ERIC: Yeah I got one. It’s actually kind of relevant to this topic. It’s from Seth Godin, yet again. The topic is Producers and Consumers. It’s a nice, short blog post about – if you’re a consumer, if you’re a producer and especially if you’re thinking about creating a podcast, this something to think about and it kind of motivates you a bit to get going. CHUCK: Awesome. Love Seth Godin. Alright, Curtis what are your picks? CURTIS: I’m going to pick a company called the Startup Vitamins. They do printed stuff, so I have a coffee cup from them that says, “Life is short, do stuff that matters.” They have a whole bunch of good things to read and just to put on your wall and motivate you to do what you should be doing every day. That’s nice quality stuff. CHUCK: Awesome. Reuven what are your picks? REUVEN: Okay I got three picks for this week. First of all, a book that I’m mostly been reading by one of my favorite authors Tim Harford, also known for The Undercover Economist. I think I mentioned a few months ago, The Undercover Economist strikes back. He has a book from a few years ago called Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure. And it is just great stuff, talking about how – we wonder why so many businesses fail – and his point is we shouldn’t be interested in why so many of them fail, we should expect them to fail. The question is what to businesses learn and what to do people learn when they fail, so that they can turn that into success? And he’s just a wonderful story teller and has lots and lots of interesting things to say on this subject. Second pick is Fiverr, which was a client of mine for about 2 years. But I started using them – I wanted an eBook cover, I said, “You know I’ll try Fiverr” and it was so convenient, and cheap of course – at five dollars. It was super nice, convenient, when I needed some revisions done it was easy to work with. The interface which I had seen from the inside as a developer was actually easy to work with as an actual consumer, so I’ve definitely been enjoying that experience quite a bit. And because it was only five dollars so I decided to try two eBook covers and got to then poll people on which one was the better one. And my third pick is, my wife and I started watching, over the last few weeks, The Good Wife – which I know is well-known in the US and elsewhere – but we just started with it. But it’s won lots of awards and people keep saying it’s an amazing show, so we’re only a few shows in, but so far it’s been great, great fun. Definitely recommended for your copious free time. Anyway, those are my picks for this week. CHUCK: Cool. I’ve got a couple of picks. The first one is a book. It’s “Michael Vey and the Jade Dragon.” I’ve been enjoying those books. They are young adult fiction, so don’t expect them to get too elaborate, but I really enjoyed them. And I like that Michael Vey is kind of a good kid that does good stuff and a lot of his friends are good kids that do good stuff. It’s a book that I’d be comfortable with my kids reading. The other one is a podcast, and it’s called Starting From Nothing. It’s the Foundation’s Podcast – the Foundation is a startup incubator kind of thing, or a startup school kind of thing. So yeah, been enjoying that as well. Yeah those are my picks. Mandy, do you have some picks for us? MANDY: Yup. The first pick I have is something I just discovered. It’s called Geocaching, and it’s so much fun. I did it all weekend with my daughter, who’s five, and we call it treasure hunting. What it is, is you just download this app on your iPhone and it shows you where all these containers are hidden close to you within so many mile radius. And sometimes you go, and it’s just a log, you sign your name but sometimes it’ll actually have treasure in it. And you can take something out and put something of equal or greater value back in. So she has so many dumb little toys that she’s gotten out of Happy Meals or something else and we would just have a basket full of those in the car. And for instance, we were at a horseback riding lesson yesterday and while I was watching her, I was just looking it all up when I noticed there was one right down the street. So on our way home from horseback riding lesson, we just stopped and we found it and once you get out of the car you have to use a compass and it tells you how many feet it is. So you do kind of look dumb walking around in circles until you’re finding where those little containers are hidden. Sometimes they’re in guard rails, sometimes they’re in poles - if you lift up the plastic cover on poles that are in a parking lot. It’s just so much fun. And the containers can be really, really small from the size of like a bullet shell to big with stuff in it. And sometimes they have tracking bugs in it, and you can look up a number where it’s been or the ID code and see where it’s been. Some of them have been – it’s all over the world. It’s so cool. All you do is go to and it’ll tell you more about it. It’s everywhere and it’s something that I wish I discovered sooner but me and my daughter are going to have so much fun with it because we’ve already found three, and I’m ready to go make a day out of it already next weekend. And then my second pick is just this iOS game called Criminal Case. It’s a hidden object game, and it gives you clues and you talk to suspects and then you have to find the hidden objects to get energy. And you kind of just put it together and arrest people and stuff like that. It’s setup with a Candy Crush kind of thing – there’s levels and I’m on level five but it’s taken me three weeks to get to level five, so it looks like there’s so many more levels. It’s just something to do in my free time if I’m waiting for something to download or I have five minutes to spare, I’ll just play a couple of rounds and it’s pretty fun. So those are my picks. CHUCK: Cool. Just to remind everybody go to if you want to come to our live Q&A webinar that will be on October 7th, and we’re really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to see what people’s questions are and how we can help them with stuff. So yeah, we’re looking forward to talking to you and we’ll catch you all next week as well. [Work and learn from designers at Amazon and Quora, developers at SoundCloud and Heroku, and entrepreneurs like Patrick Ambron from BrandYourself. You can level up your design, dev and promotion skills at Level Up Con, taking place on October 8th and 9th in downtown Saratoga Springs, New York. Only two hours by train from New York City, this is the perfect place to enjoy early fall at Oktoberfest, while you mingle with industry pioneers, in a resort town in upstate New York. Get your tickets today at The space is extremely limited for this premium conference experience. Don’t delay! Check out now]**[This episode is sponsored by MadGlory. You've been building software for a long time and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Work piles up, hiring sucks and it's hard to get projects out the door. Check out MadGlory. They're a small shop with experience shipping big products. They're smart, dedicated, will augment your team and work as hard as you do. Find them online at or on Twitter @MadGlory.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. 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