It was around this time a year ago that I decided to start my podcast, How I Built It. I started it as a way to generate buzz around building things so I could send people over to my online courses, where you learn how to build things. But a funny thing happened. Thanks to Rebecca Gill (Season 1, Episode 2) I reached out to Justin Ferriman of LearnDash about sponsoring her episode and he said yes! Since then, basically all of my episodes have had at least one sponsor, Season 2 was sold out, and Season 3 is on its way to selling out. In that time I’ve picked up a few things that I feel can help anyone who is thinking about Podcast Sponsorship.
So I’m a bit of a technophile and an early adopter. Always have been; I had a Palm M100 in 9th grade because it looked cool. Plus it helped me keep my busy schedule of drama club and homework straight. Since then, I’ve tried to get new tech sooner rather than later. Sometimes I write about it. When the iPad Pro was announced, it wasn’t something I was able to buy. But I’ve been looking for a good way to draw on a screen since my first “tablet” in 2005. Well, I was able to get the iPad Pro 10.5″ this year; so how does it stack up?
Six years ago when I got a job at The University of Scranton, it was a little bittersweet. For 2 years following my Masters Degree, I was self-employed. The thing that lead me to look for a new job was that I was working out of my parents’ house, and honestly, time was running out on staying on their insurance plan. Leaving that world was sad, but I was excited at the notion of working with a team. After 3 years at the university, I felt I was ready to do something different and more challenging.
Last summer I was at a crossroads with WP in One Month. In-person courses didn’t work, the webinars were running their course but that wasn’t a sustainable business model. I started having conversations with some great folks in the community – Matt Medeiros, Cory Miller, and Shawn Hesketh just to name a few. These conversations taught me a lot about what I should do, how I should position myself, and potential partnerships. If only they could tell me exactly how their built their business or product…
Those conversations are what gave me the idea for the podcast. When I started How I Built It, it was going to be a way for me to funnel people to my online courses (the new direction for WP in One Month); something like, “You learned how X was built, now take my courses to build it yourself.” But a funny thing happened: the podcast became popular. More popular than I imagined in the first few month. I started getting sponsors and people were asking to come on the show. Last month, I hit 50K downloads in less than 9 months.
It’s time for one of my favorite annual posts: my Favorites of the year. I usually start with some information on how my year went, but I had a lot more to say this year. I started a new blog with the first post being 2016 Sucked. But don’t worry – The title is tongue-in-cheek. I hope you like reading it as much as I liked writing it.
There’s one more caveat: for movie, I decided not to pick Rogue One. I loved it, but with a new Star Wars movie coming out every year I don’t see that selection being very diverse without the caveat. OK! Let’s get on with it.
I imagine building product is like building anything else. Let’s take a recipe for lasagna. Sure there’s a basic set of instructions you should follow, but everyone probably does it a little differently. Everyone has their own method for layering the pasta, or what sauce to use.
When it comes to building products, the same thing is true. The only difference is there’s no cookbook. There’s no set number of steps you can take to get from start to successful business. The best thing you can do is the same thing I do when I try to cook: talk to the experts*.
*The expert in this case is my Italian mother. Thanks mom!
Let’s set the stage. You want to take a trip to the Grand Canyon with your family of 4, but plane tickets cost $1000 each. Plus there’s the hotel for a week and food, not to mention other expenses. Instead, you decide to take a few extra days off work and drive there because it would save you literally thousands of dollars. What if someone told you that if you can’t afford to fly, you shouldn’t go? Now think about this: you just started a business and you know you need a website but you can’t afford a $5-10K one. Someone you know says they can make a website for $500 using WordPress and a page builder. Are you wrong for accepting that? I say no.
My wife and I do very different things. I sit in front of a computer all day, get to work pretty much the hours I’d like to work (within reason), and I don’t have to put pants on. Erin is a nurse, who works 12 hour shifts, taking care of the some of the sickest people in the hospital. Her bad day is much worse than my bad day. But when I say that, she tells me I shouldn’t devalue my work, and that I can still talk about my bad days to her; it’s not a competition. I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago, when in the Post Status community, we were presented with this question: Do you ever struggle with feeling like the work you do* isn’t meaningful (eg compared to doctors etc.)? How do you cope with that? The conversation was great with a wide range of answers. I’m lucky enough to not have to struggle find meaning in my work, and here’s why.
*This is a community made up mostly of developers and designers.