Revealing Secrets from 800 Episodes – Keeping Your Sanity While Podcasting

We hear of podcasters getting these big deals for big bucks, and congratulations to all. However, this is not the norm. Just because you start a podcast does not mean you will end up like Rich Uncle Pennybag from Monopoly.

If you're a regular listener you've heard me mention how I received a 10-minute voicemail, and one of the points of that voicemail was that maybe we all have some slightly blurry expectations when it comes to podcasting (and in their case how long it takes to create one). Today is my 800th episode and like all of my milestone episodes, I'm going to break my format, and not talk so much about gear, downloads, promotion, interviews, etc and instead I want to talk about some of the more stressful sides of podcasting.

Did Podcasting Ruin My Marriage?

My second marriage had many conversations about my podcast. It turns out that while I was podcasting to attempt to earn money while I was in college, my fiance assumed I would quit cut way, WAY back on my podcasts. While I did cut back, it wasn't by much.

Lesson number 1: Have realistic expectations and always communicate to all involved so everyone is on the same page.

If this sounds like you, this is a red flag. “Hey honey I'm going to go check my email real quick. I'll be back in 15 minutes. I would come out 90 minutes later. This led to my credibility being shot full of holes.

My wife and I entered marriage counseling about six months after we were married. One of the things we did was have an open discussion on how much time I needed to podcast. The solution was Tuesday evening after I got out of my teaching job, and Saturday mornings until she woke up. I also spent the money to rent an office (which gets expensive when you have to pay the business rate for internet at your office), but I could now physically to help me separate home and business life. I was hyper-focused when I was in that office and was never more productive. I knew I had a lot to do, and a short amount of time to get it done.

We also started having “Date nights” where we would go out to dinner with just the two of us (she had three teenage children). Unfortunately often these dates nights were “discussions” about a lack of time together.

Tip: If you want more time with your spouse, be the kind of spouse they love to hang out with. This typically is not someone who is spending the entire time together telling them how horrible they are.

After two separation periods and YEARS in therapy, we finally agreed that maybe we should've dated longer (we had been dating long distances and only saw each other on the weekends).

Marriage Advice From The Divorced Guy

One of the things I will do if I ever decide to have another relationship is set rules on when serious discussions can happen. For me, I think all “we need to talk” discussions should happen after dinner. You can set your shows to record, and sit down and have a discussion. Don't do it before work (it will cause someone to be late, and generally has you distracted all day), and don't do it when you're head hits the pillow as there is a good chance you may be tired, and if the discussion goes long, you're going to both be tired, which leads to around 2 in the morning before you go to work, and I already said that's a bad idea. With that said, 7 PM after dinner.

I can only speak of a man/woman relationship. I don't mean to exclude anyone, but I can only speak from my own experience.

Gentlemen there are times when all she needs you to do is listen. I know. I know. You want to fix it. Just listen.

Ladies, I know you feel this is your soulmate and he should KNOW what you need. He's not a psychic. You will get much better results if you just tell him what you want.

In general (painting with a very wide brush) women need to feel cherished, and men need to feel respected. When I would score a podcast success (maybe helping someone launch who thought they never could) I would get a HUGE high. Make sure your spouse knows that being with them gives you the same feeling. I failed miserably at this.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I have mentioned that when people share their numbers in a Facebook group there are a few things to remember:

  1. ALL (yes ALL) podcasters lie about their numbers.
  2. Monthly Stats (and weekly) stats are deceptive. The number we want to hear is the number of downloads PER episode after 30 days.
  3. Not everyone wants more downloads, but instead, want the RIGHT downloads.

I always advise people to not compare your show to others. You don't know their schedule, resources, experience, etc and they may not be on the same field as you are. Comparing your show to others can really mess up your attitude. How do I know this? Because it can (and still occasionally does) mess with my head.

Everybody and their brother is coming out with a podcast course. Everybody and their brother is now a podcast consultant. I would be lying if I said this never bugs me. There are times when I see yet another person pitching podcasting (with IMHO really bad advice) and they blatantly prove they don't know they are doing, and a part of me goes, “How do they have clients and I have to scrape for mine?” (notice I don't know their background, skill set, etc

Solution: Focus on your why. Focus on you who. Focus on your what. You can't control or change other people, so focus on the things you can control.

Does Being a Pro Podcaster Make You Suicidal?

We see on social media that everyone is having eye-popping success. Holy cow! WOW! Some people are making serious money.

When Did Hobby Become a Derogatory Word?

I met Tim McGinnis who does the Besties in bed podcast with his wife. Are you ready for this? Tim does it for fun. Yep, it's a hobby. No worry about downloads. No obsessing over download numbers or potential sponsors. They did one episode about their cat being a jerk. Someday when they are sitting in their rockers that will listen to these episodes and probably have a good laugh.

So as the guy who wrote the book Profit From Your Podcast (get an autographed copy here) wants to remind you:

YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR PODCAST. I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO DO THIS JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT.

This also means that if you need to, you can take a break. This is where the phrase, “It's just a podcast” is OK. It's not OK when you have someone who is busting their butt, with a highly engaged audience and you ask a C-Level celebrity to be on the show and their agent says, “It's just a podcast.” I would love to see the stats on this because I feel Connan Obrien's podcast numbers are larger than his TV viewers.

Why Podcasters and Entrepreneurs May Be More Inclined to Commit Suicide

We Can Be Impulsive:

This is true. I have been at events, and some of us will write our own schedule. This past week I decided as I walked by a scooter that I needed to experience a scooter. I almost got run over not once, but twice.

According to an article in Forbes, entrepreneurs have higher rates of attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder. Want to see if I'm A.D.D. listen to me record an episode without bullet points of any kind in front of me. I once recorded an episode four times before I finally waved the white plag and wrote down some bullet points.

According to a study by Dr Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, 30% of all entrepreneurs experience depression.

What can be scary about being impulsive is the act of taking your life can come just fifteen minutes after the thought.

Social Isolation

One of the best side effects of podcasting is you will often attract people just like you. Your community finds you and yet there are times when people in your support group have no idea what a podcast is, and why you are spending all this time investing in something that is not making money. In other words, “they just don't get it.”

Humiliation, Rejection, and Failure

In talking with some people this week, someone had been talking with Seth Godin about launching their first book. When the author told Seth he had no expectations for sales, Seth said, “That's perfect. That's the best way to go at this.” If less than 10% of podcasters gain enough downloads to have a “Major” sponsor, that means 90% don't. For the record, 10,000 downloads at 25 CPM is $250 for one ad. Nice money, but don't quit your day job as that is before taxes and unless you're doing a daily show…

The other thing with people wanting to share their numbers in Facebook groups and just rob you of your joy. Comparison is the thief of joy,” according to President Theodore Roosevelt. This is easier said than done. While I'm happy for my friends who have started AFTER me and made 10's if not 100s of times more money than me, I would be lying if this doesn't occasionally make you wonder, “What is wrong with me?”

Feeling Trapped

OK, I bought all this equipment. I followed all the best practices. My show isn't growing. I take action like switching media hosts or buying more equipment (when my show sounded fine). If I stop now I will need to acknowledge the podcast has failed. I will look like an idiot.

The Sleep While I'm Dead Mentality

While this sounds macho, gritty, tough, committed, and is supposed to show how real you are, let's shift that to food. Do I need something to eat? No! I'll eat when I'm dead.” Well in the same way that if you don't sleep until you're dead, the same goes for food. Sleep is just as important (and maybe more) than food. You do stupids things when you're tired. You're bodies burns out when it doesn't get to rest.

Podcaster/Entrepreneur Suicide.

Suicide rates in the United States had increased by 35 percent between 1999 and 2018, before a slight dip of 2 percent in 2019.

The new CDC data, which included 99 percent of suicide deaths in 2020, showed an additional 3 percent decrease last year.

Drops in suicide deaths among white men and women were the main forces behind the declines in both 2019 and 2020. Rates for white Americans declined by 5 percent — the largest of any group — followed by a 4 percent drop for Asian Americans. White men saw a 3 percent decrease, while white women overall saw a 10 percent decrease.

The overall suicide rate among women declined 8 percent between 2019 and 2020 and 2 percent among men overall.

Among younger Americans, suicide rates increased slightly in all groups ages 10 to 34, although the only significant increase was a 5 percent uptick among 25- to 34-year-olds, the report said.

Suicide rates were by far the highest among American Indians and  Alaska Natives, which increased by 5 percent in 2020, followed by white Americans. Black Americans and Hispanic Americans had similar rates of suicide. Black and Hispanic females had the lowest rates of suicide among any group, but those numbers don’t show the whole picture.

It's the first time the CDC has put together a report based on preliminary data.

Social Media's Influence

Kids and teens are experiencing “astronomical” rising rates of depression and suicidal thoughts in the last few years, and experts point to social media as one of the top culprits. Suicide is listed as the second leading cause of death in young people aged 10 to 24, and suicide rates have tripled in kids aged 10 to 14 since 2007. 67% of teens in 2015 felt that social media made them feel worse about their own lives.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255

It's OK That You're NOT OK – But Get Some Help

To find a clinic in your local area, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine or go to MentalHealth.gov

https://www.goodtherapy.org/

https://openpathcollective.org/

Want some interesting content, check out these videos from people who survived suicide attempts.

My Issues With Grief

To make a long story short, 32 years after my mother passed away, I had some things bubble to the surface. In my case, I tried betterhelp.com (use this link from the podcast What Wa That Like to save 10%)  and met with a counselor who specialized in grief counseling. She recommended the book The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses Including Health, Career, and Faith and I can say it helped. It didn't take the pain away, but it did give me a healthier perspective on grief.

Everything We've Learned About Grief is Crap

  • Don't feel bad
  • Replace the loss
  • Grieve alone
  • Just give it time
  • Be strong for others
  • Keep busy

So talking to someone (a friend, a counselor, somebody) can really help. I'm not cured, but I'm in a much better place (it turns out death kinda sucks).

Conclusion

Facebook and social media do not show a real depiction of someone's life. 

We all come presorted with our own baggage. When you understand what triggers you, you can make better decisions.

Don't compare yourself to others. While podcasting is a great hobby, don't let it take precedent over your family. If you're using it for your business, it's a great marketing tool. Look into someone else taking over the editing. Remember that more planning leads to less editing.

If you're feeling yourself being trapped in a dark place, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. I have and it helped.

Thanks for listening to these 800 episodes. I'm looking for another 800.

Need Help With Your Podcast?

Here is a list of ways you can work with me.

Want to support the show, but feel you don't need the School of Podcasting? Consider becoming a Patron.

Also, this show is equipped with the value for value model. You can stream bitcoin using the apps at www.newpodcastapps.com

If none of those float your boat, you can always buy me a coffee.

Question of the Month: How Long Does It Take You to Create an Episode – SURVEY

This 60-minute podcast took 8 hours to create from idea to pressing publish. We all know podcasting can take more time than we thought. I'd love to hear how long it took to go from “Idea to Publish” for your last episode. You can answer at

www.schoolofpodcasting.com/question 

About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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