If you’ve ever wanted to start a podcast, now is a great time as podcasts are only becoming more and more popular. Audience members enjoy the ease of consuming the content: while on a walk, while making dinner, or while driving, and it’s also a great way for hosts to monetize their audience or connect with high profile guests.
However, just getting started can feel quite daunting. What if no one listens? Angie Lee, entrepreneur and the founder and host of the wildly popular podcast The Angie Lee Show, says that fear should be the last thing that stops you from following the desire to just begin… whether it’s the fear of no one showing up or the fear of being embarrassed.
For Lee, her show began with a $100 microphone and a recording session in her closet after an inkling of a desire to just begin — and now, six years later, the podcast has over 10 million downloads and counting. Here are Angie’s best practices for creating consistent content and building a loyal audience, and, of course, how one can step into the courage to just get started on their podcast dreams.
1. Show Up To Serve
With so many potential podcast topics and interests, many hosts struggle with what to make their first few episodes about. Lee stresses that it’s all about offering immense value to your first listeners. “Don’t get in your head about what will lead to the most downloads or what the most ‘clickworthy’ episode title is,” Lee said. “Instead, ask yourself: How can I make this as impactful as possible for my first few listeners?”
And just a few listeners there may be. Lee vulnerably offered that her very first episode had 30 total downloads. “I’m pretty sure one of those was my mom,” she laughed. “But I got from 30 to 10 million by continuing to show up to serve.”
What do you have to offer from your own experience and insight that listeners can’t get elsewhere? Aim to help first, and the content will speak for itself.
2. Don’t Wait Until Everything Is Perfect
“There’s a tendency to wait to press ‘record’ until you have a fancy microphone and the whole set up,” observed Lee. “But that’s what keeps people stuck. You don’t need to have everything perfect to create a great podcast. So if that means you’ll record it on your tiny phone microphone, that’s totally fine – as long as listeners can hear you, work with what you have!” she encouraged.
Alongside this pressure to have all the right tech and equipment is the concern that one’s audience is too small to just begin. “I always tell my followers that you have to be willing to be embarrassed,” said Lee. “My ex even laughed in my face when I told him I wanted to start an episode. I hardly had the audience. But it’s not about waiting for people to somehow show up before YOU can show up. It’s about showing up and giving an audience something to show up for,” she said.
What’s the easiest way that you can just get started? Choose the path of least resistance and simply get recording as soon as possible. “Ready is a lie,” urges Lee. “You’ll never, ever be ready, no matter how much you prepare. So you might as well dive in.”
3. Everyone Starts From Zero
As you begin recording and publishing episodes, you may feel discouraged if the numbers aren’t where you wanted them to be. Look past this. “The reason that I’m so honest about where I began is because people need to understand that there’s a journey to success,” said Lee. “Every single successful person that you see doing anything cool started from zero. We all have the same starting line. It’s what you give and how consistently you create that rallies an audience around you.”
And it’s true: no one immediately had thousands or millions of followers before they ever put out their first piece of content. But no one has to, either. “Rather than thinking of the numbers as ‘downloads,’ think of them as the number of beating hearts,” said Lee. “These are real people who are choosing to invest their time to listen to you. That should help you feel grateful even if it’s just one person showing up at first.”
A combination of these insights in tandem with Lee’s consistent posting schedule is what she says helped her own numbers soar – but again, she emphasizes how critical it is to help people. After all, that should be why you’re creating your podcast in the first place: to serve. Whether that’s through education, advice, entertainment, humor, or otherwise, remember that you’ll attract an audience in proportion to how much you help those very first supporters.