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The Art of the Side Hustle: Starting a Podcast

Written by Lauren Marinigh

In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to want more than just a typical 9-5 job or the same old routine at school every day. For Millennials and the generations after us, it’s typical to have more than one side-hustle, passion project, or whatever you want to call it. We need more in our life than what those before us needed to feel fulfilled. Despite us constantly being scrutinized by the older generations about it, this isn’t a bad thing. We’re the ones pushing the boundaries, shaking up the dated definition of what accomplishment, fulfillment, and success look like.

I have always been someone who has been driven to do so much more than go to my 9-to-5 every day. I’m creative, entrepreneurial, and I need an outlet, which you don’t often get while working for someone else. That’s why when my two girlfriends, Asal and Carley, and I came together with the idea to start a podcast, I didn’t even hesitate. I dove right into Google asking: “How do you start a podcast?” and jumped headfirst into making it happen.

Close to 45% of those living in the US have listened to a podcast. I’ve been known to get lost in them for hours on end myself. Are radio shows even still a thing? Podcasts are taking over and we wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

Fast forward to January 9th, 2019, and just a few short months from when this was all just an idea, we officially launched Somebody Date Us. The podcast is all about dating, relationships, and everything in between.

However, just like any side-hustle, a lot of hard work and dedication goes into it. It doesn’t happen overnight, even though sometimes we wish that it could. So, here are the answers to some of the biggest questions about starting a podcast. And of course, a bit about what the heck Somebody Date Us is.

What is Somebody Date Us?

Somebody Date Us is a podcast started by three girls in their late 20’s living in Toronto, Canada. We talk about everything related to dating and being single in the city including, but not limited to: common trends in dating, our ridiculous, romantic and disastrous dating stories, online dating, sex, and relationships.

Why did you decide you wanted to start a dating podcast?

All three of us are single. Being in our late 20’s, we have very few people left in our friend circles that can relate. After finding ourselves constantly messaging each other or venting over one too many glasses of wine about our dating escapades, we thought that our banter would make a great podcast.

We don’t know a lot of people that are our age and single still. However, we sure as hell know there are a ton of you out there just like us who feel they have no one to relate to. We wanted to create this podcast to serve as a community. This show is for other single guys and gals out there who are going through the same highs and lows that we are. Being single and dating can feel lonely, so we wanted to make people feel less alone in this.

What did you need to get started?

It’s surprising how little you actually need when starting a podcast. You can essentially do it without spending too much money. All you need is a microphone (we bought a Yeti but there are cheaper options out there), a computer, and free recording/editing software, like Audacity, that you can easily download on your computer.

Of course, you’re also going to have to learn how to edit your podcast. Thankfully, that’s what tutorials on YouTube exist for. We were lucky because Carley happened to know a guy through work who did producing and editing for his side-hustle. He was willing to show us the ropes of the whole editing thing. Turns out, he actually ended up getting really invested in the show. He’s still along for the ride, and an unofficial fourth co-host until he gets sick of us.

Plus, you’re going to need a name for your podcast (make sure no one else already has it), and some sort of niche. As much as it’s great to talk aimlessly about anything and everything, to really attract a dedicated audience, you’re going to want to assign some sort of topic to your podcast.

Lastly, you’ll want to host your podcast somewhere, but there are so many different options to do this, some free, some that cost money. My suggestion is to do your research and look at all the options. I even joined podcast support groups on Facebook and searched the previous discussions to find advice. In the end, we went with a hosting service called Podbean which did cost money but appeared to be the best option for what we wanted.

What costs were involved in launching your podcast?

Yes, aside from the initial things mentioned above like a microphone and hosting, all our other expenses were completely unnecessary. We hired a photographer to take photos of us all together so we had professional photos for marketing purposes. Then, we went to a real recording studio with a music producer to record our opening song that plays at the beginning of every episode (P.S. that’s our co-host Carley singing). We also worked with a graphic designer for our logo. Plus, when we start hosting guests on our podcast we intend to rent a room in a co-working space. Our current recording set-up is on the floor of my tiny studio apartment in Toronto.

The good news was that we had people in our friend circle that helped us with all of these things for little to no money. It also helped that we have three people in this podcast, so when we did have to fork out money, we were splitting it three ways.

What happens once you have an episode or two?

We started creating buzz about our podcast around a month before we actually launched because we wanted to make sure we had some sort of audience (even if it was just our friends and family) first. While we were creating this buzz we had already recorded about four episodes pre-launch. We wanted to always be a few episodes ahead so that we weren’t panicking each week to get content done in time. When we were closer to launching, had our social media channels built, and our branding complete, we submitted our podcast to all the major podcasting platforms. By the way, getting listed on Apple Podcasts and Spotify might be easier than you think.

What has been your biggest learning curve?

I think this whole podcast has been a learning curve. None of us had any idea about a single thing when it came to launching or starting a podcast. It takes a lot of Googling, and a willingness to learn, to figure it all out.

What are your tips for working with two of your friends?

As you know, going into business with your friends sounds like the best and the worst idea all wrapped into one. However, the three of us actually weren’t that close when we started this podcast. I introduced Carley and Asal to each other. They had maybe only met two or three times before we decided to do this whole podcast thing. Then Carley and I really only became friends within this past year. We’ve obviously grown so much closer while doing this project, but I think it helps that we weren’t and aren’t inseparable.

On top of that, all three of us bring something different to the table. We all have very different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. But the thing we all have in common is that none of us are scared to speak up. Giving each other feedback isn’t a problem for us. The biggest thing is remembering that we are all in this together and we all want this to succeed. Listening to others’ ideas and feedback is what’s going to make us, and this podcast better.

What if no one listens?

We went into this project fully expecting that only our friends and family would be listening. We wanted to create this podcast for our listeners and other single people out there, but we mainly wanted to do it for ourselves. It also helps that all of us have full-time careers and don’t intend to make an income off this podcast.

When launching something like this, don’t focus so much on the numbers. If you focus on creating good content and be consistent with doing so, that’s the most important thing that will (hopefully) lead you to success.

Starting a podcast or any creative side project is a ton of work, but it can be incredibly rewarding. It might give you that creative outlet that you’ve been craving in your life. We’re so excited to see where this project goes and I’m positive there will be many learning curves and roadblocks along the way.

You can listen to Somebody Date Us on any of your favourite podcast platforms. We’re on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Pocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can also follow our ridiculous dating escapades and more over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Plus, we’re working on growing a Facebook group that will serve as a place for people to ask questions, and discuss everything related to dating and relationships. You can request access to join here.

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