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Your show is actually a startup

Let's dispense some of the nonsense about startups and also help you move your creative business forward.

Quick note: These first few issues of The Segue will feel a bit broad. While most people won’t start at the beginning, my goal is to begin linking other issues at the bottom so people can get foundational if they need to. IF you need more specific help, and don’t want to wait for the deep dives, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly and I’ll help you!

“Your show is a startup - act like it!”

- Brad Nolan

It’s a cute phrase and has all the trappings of a solid tweet. It’s rude, it’s true, and it’s short. But that’s not why we are here, is it? No. Let’s get into why your show is a start up and exactly how to “act like it.”

The myth of running a startup

The whole startup culture has been quite glorified and turned into this hustle culture nonsense about getting investment and grinding and (insert time wasting thing here). But the reality of running a startup is quite different. It takes daily focus on what the user wants, a vision that includes both the right now and the up next, and then it rounds itself out with feeling like you’re getting nowhere. This should sound familiar. Let me put it in different terms.

  1. Daily examination of what your listener is engaging with

  2. The clock running on the hamster wheel of content

  3. No increase in downloads, retweets, or ratings from that GREAT episode you shipped

Startups are not like Uber. Startups are focused, consistent, and valuable. They are small businesses serving something other than themselves.

I want you to trust me on this one. I know this all too well because of the sheer amount of failures I’ve had. I tried to start a show prep service called Thumpr once. I just expected people to come and love it and be all about it. They didn’t. I built a piece of software called Podcave intended on bringing radio operations to podcasting. I assumed they would understand it. They did! But another host did it better, faster, and with a little more experience than we did, and we also truly under-estimated the amount of work it would take.

Do not underestimate the amount of work

This is the leading cause of ‘Pod-Fade.’

Podfade is when a new podcast produces a few episodes and then gradually starts releasing fewer and fewer until they stop entirely. Essentially, the podcast stops existing because the podcaster is unable to keep up with producing shows and it fades into podcasting oblivion.

Just like your radio show, your podcast will be a lot of work. Know that. Embrace it. Make the incremental changes you need to make. Just the other day…

A friend of mine, who’s starting a podcast, asked me what her merch should look like. Not even one episode is recorded, she has zero audience, and she is already wondering how to extract money from them. I get it. It’s normal, honestly. But, it’s not the right mindset.

  • 3M was a mining company before they made the double sided tape holding up your sound absorption foam

  • Taco Bell started as a hotdog stand

  • American Express was a parcel delivery service

You have NO idea what your product is until you find its audience. So go find it. Worry about your podcast art being perfect, or your merch, later.

Do the work. Get feedback. Do the work better. I promise this is the only action that matters.

Stop reading the tweets and start reading the books

I probably spend hours a week wasting my time saving threads from people about cool things I like. Just the other day I saved a thread on Twitter about how to make a song from scratch without using an instrument. And there it will stay, in my bookmarks, forever. I will not likely ever revisit it or use it. But, there are three books I’ve read and recommend to anyone starting something creative (not affiliate links… cause I’m lazy):

  1. The Lean Startup

  2. The E Myth

  3. Turning Pro (First given to me by Terry Jaymes, and I’ve given copies 100 times)

Three exercises you can do today to change your mindset

Here are three things you should think about, write down, and revisit as much as you can:

  1. What is the smallest and least complicated version of the goal I want to achieve? (Really cut it way down!)

  2. What are the things about doing my podcast someone else could do as good or better than me? (Challenge your own ‘special-ness’)

  3. Why am I creating this podcast? (be honest)

If you need more clarity on any of this, let me know. You can just reply to this email.

Still hunting…

I am on the hunt for other newsletters to collaborate with. If you know of any really valuable newsletters in the radio or podcast space, please let me know. Best to do it on Linkedin or Twitter and tag us both. I would really appreciate your help vetting the best!

Also, starting next week (for real this time), I will include a section in The Segue dedicated to HIGHLY VALUABLE articles I’ve read in the previous week. So, if you see any you think I should include, please let me know!

In case you missed it…

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Beyond The Segue…

If you’d like to see what I’m doing when I’m not writing for you, here are some other projects in the podcast and radio space I am working on…

🪐The Podosphere is something I built with my co-founder (and podcast expert) Harry Duran. It’s the most comprehensive podcast company directory in the galaxy! If you feel inclined, create your free account and make your PodStack™️ - allowing you to share the tools you use with the world.

🛰️Airspeed Studio is software made for syndicated radio shows. If you deal with syndicated radio shows (or have one!) this software is designed to be an operations hub between the show and its affiliates. I’ve been working on this in the trenches for a couple years as an executive producer and it’s finally ready to share.

📻️The Jubal Show is the show I executively produce nationally (along with it's 9 daily podcasts). It's a Top40 show syndicated to 30+ cities in the United States. Something really cool about this show - it's independently syndicated. The show owns itself! Kind of rare in the world of radio, and we try to take full advantage of our freedoms!