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The Podcast That Nearly Wasn't!

This week marks a significant milestone: the first anniversary of my podcast. It’s hard to believe that a year has already passed since I nervously hit the “publish” button on my very first episode. Looking back on this huge year - where a whopping 52 episodes have dropped (!!!!) - it seems almost unimaginable there was a time when it almost didn’t happen.

The idea of starting a podcast lingered on my mind for ages. When I say ages, I mean years, if I am completely honest. It was always just a tiny thought of 'someday....when I am big enough.' I saw others with businesses similar to mine in terms of size and length in the field start their own podcasts. However, a myriad of doubts, fears, and logistical challenges kept holding me back.

I started listening regularly to some podcasts. In the kitchen we would often have two of my favourite feminists on the play list each week. These are 'We Can Do Hard Things' (Glennon, Abby and Amanda) and 'Dear Clem' (Clementine Ford). Both these podcasts are very different but I was inspired. I enjoyed hearing these incredible women crack open conversations that really matter...I wanted to do the same and thought if they can do it....well so can I! Here’s to great women talking the talk and being power houses of inspiration right!

I did truly see that having a podcast could open up topics to my audience that other mediums could not. I already had one massive challenge tick boxed - I had an audience! So it really was all my doubts holding myself back - the seed was planted so then it was planning time. 

I spent a good six months researching and planning out the podcast. I don't mean just in terms of all the episodes, but rather the structure. Writing books taught me this first hand - you don't just grab your lap top and start writing out thousands and thousands of words. Careful thought, planning and foundation building to a book is essential. I knew there was the same work with a podcast - it was not just a matter of grabbing a microphone (not that even that is easy) and speaking what ever I liked!

I actively listened to those who had their own solo podcasts. I didn’t want to start with the structure relying on guests – I am the main star – I just needed to own that! I also thought that initially having a guest heavy foundation might be more problematic. I didn’t want to just have guests to ‘fill spaces’ but quality guests that really aligned and added value – this I knew would take time so wanted a structure that would allow for this.

Naturally, going solo brings it’s own set of doubts. Despite all the work I have done in my field I still struggle with imposter syndrome and self doubt. This was no different! 

Would people want to hear from me?

Would people like it?

What if no one even listens?

Do these thoughts ever go? That one I do not know because I am still waiting! There is something to be said though for when you do keep doing things even with these thoughts.

The other hurdles to overcome were the logistics and funding the podcast. How to do this on a shoestring budget (aka non-existent budget!) and how do actually do a podcast?! What microphone, where to record, what recording equipment, software, editor - the list was endless! 

I wanted to see if we could find a sponsor. Not only to alleviate some of the financial set up but to also add credibility. I remember Caz and I made a list of potentials that we thought would align nicely - coffee was at the top of my list because that was the name of the podcast! I nearly fell off my chair when Caz messaged THE SAME DAY - to say she had already locked someone in!  This was such a boost! In full honesty, if it was not for that first sponsor and the accountability of that (had to make it happen FOR THEM) I may not have overcome the hurdles to bring the podcast to life.

We wee a month out for first release date and it all still seemed too much. I was still struggling to figure out all the logistical pieces. Where to record, and record regularly was a big challenge. I had moved to the kitchen full time and there was not a single spot in there that did not have the commercial hum! To drop a podcast each week I knew I needed a regular quiet spot but was not yet in a position to pay for something else. Remember too that doing the podcast was on top of everything else in the business we had the Go Green Expo and two staff members leave close together. It all seemed just too hard.

All those thoughts of…..

What the hell am I doing?

Why did I think this was a good idea?

I just can't seem to find a way through?

I remember having a conversation with Caz which was the ‘should we really be doing this as it all feels just too hard' talk. 

I decided to push back the release date on the podcast for just a month. I brought myself some time. This is something I have learnt to do in business – see where you can buy some breathing space – a month later to bring it all to fruition would be nothing in a years time – turns out this is totally correct!

None of you would have even know or remembered this!

My first episode I recorded on a bathroom floor in a hotel room in Melbourne! In fact many of the first episodes were recorded in hotels and while on the road. A place to record was to be a consistent challenge over the first six-eight months of the podcast. Poor Caz must have heard me complain about it at least once a week over that time but I kept going. What this did teach me was to record in all sorts of places! 

Getting my small office away from the kitchen at the start of this year was a game changer.  To get through the large Christmas school holidays I moved some of the office home. This forced me to adjust some systems and helped me to realise I could step away from the kitchen a bit. Once school holidays were done I started looking for a small space to have as a consultation room, podcast recording studio, click and collects picks up and more. The struggle to work without this over last year has made me insanely grateful for such a set up. It is also a reminder to hold on to it because it was such a fight in the first place. Business is never a straight trajectory up despite what we see on social media. In the way the universe works too my episode on the school holidays - which is sooooo much more than the school holidays! Remains the highest rating episode of the year.

Just over a month ago I was also able to upgrade my podcast gear – which was especially as we were getting more guests. Caz and I had done many where we shared a mike with hardly breathing space between us – and yes some on the floor even! But it is not where you start or how challenging the journey is – it’s simply showing up and keeping on going.

Over this year we also saw many podcasts who had started with a hiss and a roar, with lots of fancy equipment, promo photos and signs – stop.

We kept going!

If you think it’s easy to turn up each week and deliver content – think again! There were still many moments of – I really don’t think I can. There has been a huge amount happening in personal life which at times felt like the tipping point. The line between my personal and business life is not clear cut….and in my own way I ended up sharing small bits on the podcast that I didn't else where. I feel like it’s become an almost secret community for this – being able to say things without saying them and those over the airwaves getting it. The connection that this podcast has created has been the most incredible part of this journey.

Reflecting on this past year, I’m filled with gratitude and a sense of accomplishment. I feel we achieved exactly what I hoped for and so much more. We have covered some huge topics and answered loads of caller questions. I say 'we' as you all asked for Caz to come on and the episodes we did together on our friendships, healing journeys, Fathers Day episodes have been some of our most listened to.

During one of our recording sessions Caz and I have come up with a very special creative project. We are now working on a series of children’s books to change the narrative around Fathers Day, Mother’s Day, gender norms and so much more. One book was not going to be enough - we have thrown ourselves head first into creating an entire series. So you heard it hear first and all will be released next year along with a tour to bring the magic of these books and podcast to you in person!

None of this would have been possible without the podcast and without all of you listening loyally (hello 5am club!).

We are only just getting started too! There are already so many great episodes lined up, more special guests and deep dives into topics that are close to the heart.

So really we should be jumping up and down about all of this because it's massive! Caz and I do have something special planned in a couple of weeks time to mark this and our growth - which is also fun (we said more fun this year!). 

If this is what year one of the podcast has brought - what else is around the corner! I hope too that just quietly this inspires you to keep following your dreams even through the really hard parts and huge doubt.

You are worth it!

xx Dr Julie (and Caz!)

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