Beginning Podcast Equipment

My goal is to monetize a podcast and a blog.  In order to achieve I’m going to have to invest in some equipment.  I’m also going to have to invest in some domain names and blog hosting other than this free wordpress, but that’s another post.  This wordpress blog will remain as a testament to what I’m trying to create, an opportunity for others to build upon, and potentially an e-book about my journey into podcasting…

First things first, a computer…  Done.  I’m using my existing laptop, although I could use almost anything to record, even tablets or phones.  I plan on editing the podcast audio with Audacity, a free audio editing program that I’ll be researching on how to use effectively.  You can find that here.  I’m using Pamela for Skype to record and will add a link to that soon (once I get my affiliate link…).  In the meantime, google or bing “pamela for skype.”

I plan to use notepadd ++ or some other basic electronic notepad, coupled with a mini legal pad and pen, to take show notes.  Notepad ++ will be for copying and pasting URLs and typing down the notes I’d like to share, while the legal pad will handle the time and recording notes that are temporary and I’ll only use for post editing.  Notes like the time stamp of when I went into a coughing fit, so I can cut it later with Audacity…

For audio, I have some good headsets with microphones that have pretty good audio quality.  My wife would potentially leave me if I bought any more of them, actually…  Apparently, I collect them with some unknown compulsive hoarder mentaility.  Some of these headsets would do well for podcasts, especially with types I’m planning to record.

Spoiler: these podcasts will not involve my singing voice…

However, those headset microphones, although they exhibit good sound, can still be outdone by an actual condenser microphone.  You can pay an unnecessarily large amount for these studio quality microphones. There are several, however, that are sub $50 and will elevate your audio quality from laptop microphone to high end podcast.  I chose this one for $25.99:

It’s pictured at the top of the page and I bought it for two reasons.

  1. The audio quality, that I mentioned.
  2. The professional look of the microphone itself.

I plan on having a video podcast as well as an audio podcast. Having an actual microphone with a boom arm will be much more professional than a headset and mic when it comes to the video.  Having good audio quality is much better for any potential future listeners regardless of the podcast format.  Here is the link to the boom arm:

Podcasts have become much more professional in the recent years with radio and TV personalities joining the ranks.  Even the government and PBS are trying their hands in the podcast pond.  I’m hopeful to compete with them eventually, but if I can be more professional on the cheap… all the better for me.

 

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Too much! The Importance of Focus.

I am excited. I mean, really excited… I stayed up in bed last night thinking about different podcast ideas, book ideas, alternative blogs, etc. I didn’t realize how many things I want to eventually share. But there’s the rub (read, or watch, Hamlet again if you don’t get that reference…), I have too much that I want to accomplish.

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I say that partly in jest.  I fully plan on accomplishing every one of the ideas I dreamt up and any others I dream up along the way.  But I don’t have to accomplish them ALL right now or even at the same time…  I have three book ideas (One is very close to the final push for publishing), and they will all get published, but only one book at a time.  I’ve gone down the multitasking  road before.  I believe that I’m better at it than most, but no matter what effort I put into  doing multiple things at a time, unless I have distinct separation, the results are…  mediocre.

Not starting my cookbook idea until after my flag football book is complete drives me insane.  I’m EXCITED about the cookbook idea.  The flag football book is 90% done.  That means I’ve been working on it a lot and although I’m excited about it, that cookbook is much more interesting to me at this moment.

If I were to start working on the Cookbook project, I absolutely know that the other projects would take a backseat…  That’s a good thing in terms of following my energy and passion, but it’s horrible in terms of completion.  So what’s my purpose?

What’s YOUR purpose?

Is it to follow your energy and passion?  Have at it, float like a kite in the wind…  Cut your string and let the winds of your passions take you wherever they lead.  That honestly appeals to my creative side.  It’s also how I’ve handled most creative projects that didn’t have an end goal…

But that’s not my purpose anymore

My purpose now is to have results…  to have books published, not several being written.  My purpose is to START a podcast, a blog, an online shop.  To have a library of books that I’m ACTUALLY selling.  And to maintain those things…

This is why I’m focusing on maintaining this blog three days out of the week…  It’s why I’m investing time into researching what it takes to create a podcast.  It’s why I’ll focus on finalizing the flag football book and getting it published prior to working on the next book.

This is also why I have a pen and paper on my nightstand.  I need a list to check off completions for these project ideas that I keep thinking up, so that I can focus on the one I’m working on right NOW.

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Self Doubt… Time To Start Failing.

It’s funny to me how willing people are to question themselves.  I experience it constantly at work.  People who are afraid that they won’t be good enough at a potential promotion so they never apply.  People who are unwilling to take on a task or complete a task because they are afraid of their workmanship.  These are people who are often already doing the tasks associated with the promotion or have set examples of craftmanship in the past.  It’s irrational…

And yet, it’s constant.  And I’m no giant when it comes to overcoming it.  I have doubts that I’ll be able to run an online shopping site, learn how to dropship expertly, or create and maintain a podcast.  But like this blog (which I might be moving to a hosted site), I plan on bypassing that “confidence barrier”.  I am commiting myself to going beyond any self doubt, just like I committed to writing three blog posts a week.

And the beauty of that?  I know for a fact that I’m going to fail…

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I know that I won’t be as successful the first time I try a podcast, or shop, or whatever comes up.  I know that it won’t be incredibly successful (with a potential lucky exception)…  But I know that I will learn…

That’s one of the many things I’m good at (I didn’t say I lacked confidence, I only said I had self doubt…).  I can learn, and research, and grow and become an expert in any of the items I’m discussing.  We literally have the internet at our disposal…  The only thing you need beyond that is time, will power and a mind that can grasp it.

So, yes, I will fail.  My first podcast will not be professional immediately.  It will not make much money (Affiliate marketing for example).  But I will learn from it…  And I plan on taking that first podcast and continuing to make it even while I start others.  And as I use that first podcast to learn how to do it well, I’ll use that knowledge to make others stronger from the start.

Same thing with this blog and others.  I’ll learn how to write better (and use less parenthetical statements!).  And I’ll start other blogs.  I already have several ideas I think would be fruitful.  Several of them will be awful.  I welcome the awful one’s, those are the one’s that will make the good ones great.

Self Doubt is something we all deal with, even at home.  Am I a good enough father, provider, mother, wife, husband?  Could I be better?  Well, I am sick of the self doubt when it comes to writing, to podcasting and to making money online…  Time to start failing…

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Audience… Define Your Audience

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I suggested last post that I was going to go for three posts a week…  Monday, Wednesday and Friday seem to be an appropriate schedule, let’s go with that.  That is not the first thing I’m going to focus on (consistency and a goal), but it’s what I’m focusing on right now.

The first thing I’m going to focus on is something I should already have done.  I suggest you do this as a first step going forward.  Define your audience.  It was something that was continuously impressed on me when I was at Vanderbilt as an English Major.  Define who you are writing towards.  Often that was the professor, often it was the Vanderbilt student body itself.  Regardless, knowing who the writing is meant for makes a difference in the outcome of the writing itself.

I could go into detail but I think it would contain sentences similar to this: Some professors expected quality over thought-process, others did not, I wrote to the professor.  Instead, let me suggest that this isn’t just about online content and potential sales but about life and other work as well.  Knowing your audience before you send your emails, tell a specific joke, or discuss sensitive business topics is a valuable lesson.  It’s something I have taught both my boys as they entered their pre-teens.  “You can say things to your friends that you should never say in front of your Mom…”

For this blog, I’m too late.  I started the blog, with a goal, and I haven’t solidified who I’m even writing to…  That makes this a journal, not a directed blog.  I’m obviously going to revisit this and define the audience I’m trying to reach for one simple reason:

  1. When a decision about a direction that the blog needs to take comes up the audience will give you the answer…

I’m not suggesting that you ask your readers/consumers what path you should take on any given decision.  “Should my podcasts be 30 or 45 minutes long?”  Although, if you get a following that is responsive to you, you might take that approach.  I’m suggesting that you determine the ideal person for your media and define aspects of that person’s life.  Once determined, answers to questions for your content will be readily available with little thought.  What would my audience do?

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As an example, I’m going to be writing a cookbook soon.  I have a passion for cooking and a passion for writing (and getting published).  But what kind of cookbook?  I need to define my audience.  Let’s go through two potential audiences.

  1. Newly graduated college student.
    • Renting their first place
    • Owns a microwave, has a stove to store the cookie sheets for the oven
    • Owns an all in one kitchen set (two pots, two pans)
    • Doesn’t own a dishwasher
    • Has four actual plates but uses plastic dinnerware mostly
    • Eats out with friends as often as possible because they never learned how to cook or depended on cafeterias and Mom.
    • Really likes microwaveable ready meals, tube cookies and hot dogs.
    • Spends most of their money on student loans, furntiure and their pets
  2. Newly divorced Dad.
    • Moved into a condo unit
    • Owns a microwave, stove, oven and grill
    • Never had to cook because his ex-wife cooked everything
      • Although he does like to grill
    • Owns a dishwasher
    • Has actual plates and bowls and can afford kitchen utensils
    • Eats out often, especially when he has the kids over
    • Eats microwave ready meals and hot dogs often, but would rather have home cooked meals
    • Spends most of his money on his kids, alimony, child support and his condo
      • Still has plenty of money left over

These are pretty specific audiences…  I could flesh them out even more if necessary and the more I podcast or write the more i would.  A cookbook for a recently divorced Dad would be MUCH different than one for a recently graduated college student.  That should be pretty obvious.  As I begin looking into what a book like that would be (and I’m thinking I might blog the writing of that book with a defined audience of new writers), I’m easily able to answer some of the questions that immediately arise.

  1. Should I include “basics of cooking”?
    • The answer for both is a yes
  2. Should I include a section for cooking for kids?
    • For the college grad, no…  But for the dad, yes…

Having defined the audience will help to determine what content needs to be discussed/created as well.  As you plan your content you have to ask yourself WWMAW; “What Would My Audience Want?”

As a caution for going this route, other’s might have had the same idea as you.  For example:

Divorced Dad’s Cookbook“>Divorced Dad’s Cookbook

Don’t worry about this at all…  You have your own personality, your own thoughts and your own specific audience.  All that means is that someone else has already identified a viable source of money.  Read the reviews on their products and determine how you can make yours better…