by Nikita Burks-Hale
Hey hey, podcaster!
Yup, I said it. You are a podcaster. Whether you are ready to launch your podcast journey or just now discovering what podcasting can mean for you, YOU ARE A PODCASTER. It’s time to embrace this new identity and use your voice. You know that you were meant for more, and podcasting is your gift to yourself and the world. As women of color, our gifts are grounded in our unique experiences. Our voices are strong, our voices are educated, our voices are revolutionary, our voices are needed. Now more than ever we need to share our voices, and now more than ever we need guidance and support along the way.
But how do I even get started with podcasting?
If you were to enter “How do I start a podcast?” into any search engine, you would be flooded with thousands of websites and recommendations. From microphones to recording programs to hosting sites, the options can quickly become overwhelming. So while all of those details are important (and I will happily cover them in the future), let’s start at the core. Instead of focusing on all the things you need to begin your podcasting journey, let’s start with you.
What are the things YOU specifically need to do in order to begin your podcasting journey and what are some important questions to consider along the way? I’ve got some ideas to get you started:
Step 1: Show Up for the Podcast Journey
Hello? Are you there? You have to show up and show that you are ready. You have to commit to being there. You have to say “I am here. I’m ready to try. I’m ready to give it my best and my all”. Notice that I didn’t say you have to show up perfectly. Perfect is overrated, tired, and played out. Your listeners don’t want perfect. They want you. They want your unique voice. So as you SHOW UP, ask yourself: Why is this important to me?
Step 2: Be Vulnerable
We want to see and hear from you. THE REAL YOU. Not the filtered you, but the real, raw, uncut version of you. Take off your mask, pick up the microphone, and give us THE REAL. This is what your listeners yearn to hear. Realness. No BS. Honesty, humor, support. This is what they want. And you know what? So do you! Isn’t that why you are here in the first place? You feel like something is missing and deep down you know you have that missing piece. Embrace that. EMBODY IT. Speak up. Be vulnerable. We aren’t looking for a perfect episode. We are looking for someone who speaks directly to what we need, and that someone is you. So open up, be vulnerable, and ask yourself: What is missing from podcasting and why am I the one to fill that void?
Step 3: Practice Gratitude
Now, once you’ve shown up and you’re ready to be vulnerable, let’s go to the next step: practicing gratitude. This step is vital because oftentimes we don’t stop and realize or take note of the things that we’re grateful for. We all know that life isn’t promised, so you really have to be grateful for what you have in the present. It may not be much, you may only have a microphone, a computer, earbuds, and a dream. But that is all you need! So before you go any further in your podcasting journey, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself: What people, things, and events am I grateful for that have gotten me to this place?
Step 4: Be a Badass
This is a fun one! Be a badass. If you’re going to podcast, GO ALL IN. Make it an experience. Make it a journey. Try something new and have fun with it! Yes, there are plenty of podcasting courses and “how-to” guides out there that are great at teaching you the foundational knowledge to help you start your show, but remember that the MAGIC of your podcast will come from you. So OWN IT. Do something different. Place yourself in this new environment doing something you’ve never done before. Take your gifts and unique talents and bring them to your listeners in a way that only you know how. Is it scary and awkward? Definitely. Is it worth it? 1000%. Ask yourself: What things make me unique and how can I fully embrace these throughout my podcasting journey?
Step 5: Enjoy the Ride
To recap, we’re on this imperfect podcasting journey and we have shown up, we’ve been vulnerable, we’re practicing gratitude, and we’re being badasses. What’s next? Now it’s time to enjoy the ride!
We’ve already talked about how new and uncomfortable this journey can be, but we also have to find the fun and joy in it. It is vital that you enjoy the moments that come as you are embracing this new identity as a podcaster. You’ve got to learn to be present and say, “I’m here for it. I am ready for all the experiences—the good, the bad, the ugly—because it’s all a part of the process.” Ask yourself: What are three ways I can remain present and find enjoyment throughout my podcasting journey?
Here’s a recap of the 5 questions to ask yourself again as you get started:
- Why is this important to me?
- What is missing from podcasting and why am I the one to fill that void?
- What people, things, and events am I grateful for that have gotten me to this place?
- What things make me unique and how can I fully embrace these throughout my podcasting journey?
- What are three ways I can remain present and find enjoyment throughout my podcasting journey?
There you have it! Your five steps for starting your imperfect podcasting journey (and five questions to ask yourself along the way). Remember that this whole journey is not about being the best. It’s about bringing your voice and experiences to the masses. It’s about speaking truth and bringing light to who you are and what you know. It’s about being seen and heard. And most importantly, it’s about you taking this journey, growing as you go, and being the best podcasting version of yourself. The next step? Get to recording! Get to podcasting! It’s time for your voice to be heard.
If you enjoyed this article, read Mental Hurdles I Overcame to Start Podcasting!
Are you looking for more resources along your podcasting journey? Join our monthly membership, WOC Podcasters Insiders, and get access to our monthly accountability calls, live trainings with guest experts, and our exclusive podcasting resource library. Learn more about our membership here.
Nikita Burks-Hale is the founder and head creative at JourneyGurl Magic Productions, a podcast production company that provides editing, coaching, and podcast launch services for Womxn of Color as they bring their unique voices to the masses through podcasting. In addition, Nikita is also the host of two podcasts, The JourneyGurl Magic Podcast and The Podcaster’s Journey (launching July 2020).