Archive of ‘Explore YOUR Business’ category
I mentioned yesterday that I love podcasts and that I’ve long wanted to start my own. The truth is, I started working on one THREE years ago. In 2011, I took a great class with Diane, that taught me everything I needed to know about starting a podcast. I bought a travel mic. I sent a million emails to friends about what I wanted the podcast to be. When I went to Chicago on a trip for a client, I interviewed two of my long-time fave crafters (their interviews will eventually be on the podcast).
But then..the idea withered. I know myself: I failed to follow my enthusiasm and just make it, so I got bogged down in the details and never moved forward.
When the idea hit me again I sat right down and wrote out all the reasons I shouldn’t do it (that’s a short list). And then I wrote all the reasons I should do it. I wrote what the podcast would be about. I wrote a rough outline of my first podcast. And I sent an email to Heather asking if I had the different steps of it right.
The next Monday, I decided: Yes, I’m going to do this project. I recorded the audio, recorded an intro, edited it together and by Thursday had it all uploaded and ready to launch. The day after I got everything set up, Elise wrote this great post about how to launch a podcast on a Mac. I use a slightly different workflow and set of tools, so I wanted to share that with you.
This is rather long, so instead of reading it all and getting overwhelmed, I strongly recommend that you save it (maybe pin it?) and open it back up when you’re ready to start your podcast.
Here’s an overview of how each episode moves from your brain into your listener’s devices:
- You record it, edit it + send it to where it will live on the web (where iTunes will “read” it from).
- You write the summary + title, then publish the episode on that platform (or you schedule it for the future).
- When it goes live, iTunes (+ all other podcast readers) will “catch” the feed and post it on their site with the information.
- Subscribers will magically have the episode!
How to launch a podcast in a week.
- Decide what you want to talk about.
Make a big list of possible topics. Figure out who you’re making this for and what you want to say. (You could use Craft an Effective Blog to generate topic ideas!) Now, summarize all that for your first episode. Listen to a few of your favorite podcasts to get a feel for the organization of it all. What do they say at the beginning? The end? Write down a general outline of what you want to say (be as scripted or as free-flowing as you like).
- Pick a name.
This took me forever, but don’t stress about it. If your blog has a name, go with that. If your Etsy shop has a name, go with that. (I’m just “Tara Swiger” everywhere, so I had to find something new.)
- Make a cover image.
It needs to be 1400×1400 and still look good at 150×150. If you’re totally new to image design, hire someone. (This should be pretty inexpensive. You can find lots of designers here.) Or just put the name of your podcast on a colored background. Really.
- Set up your recording + editing + feed.
-Set up an account on Libsyn (I went with the cheapest: $5/mo). Put the name of your podcast and the summary in there.
-Set up an account on Auphonic (free!) then download the Auphonic phone app.
-Go to the “services” page on Auphonic and add your Libsyn account. This will send all of your episode to Libsyn. (This makes everything so super easy.)
-Also set it up to send recordings to your Dropbox/fttp/computer (wherever you wanna save your files).
- Record your first episode.
-Open the Auphonic app and click the big Record button and start talking. I recorded the first episode ON MY PHONE.
-Save the recording + name it.
-If you want an intro and outro to be the same on every episode, record each of those and save them.
- After you’re done recording, click “Start Production” on your episode file. (You can do this on your phone, or on the web app.) If you recorded an intro and outro, put those in the intro and outro section. On this production page, you’ll name the episode, write a summary, etc. Be sure you’ve selected Libsyn in the outgoing file, so it’s sent automatically.
-Click “Start Production” at the bottom of this page. Your file will be edited + sent to Libsyn. Yay! You’re all done creating the audio file!
- Your episode will soon be in your Libsyn account.
If you need to, edit the title, summary, etc and publish it (or schedule it).
- Submit your feed to iTunes!
Libsyn creates the feed with all the details you’ve already put in, so you just need to copy + paste the feed onto iTunes. (Your feed will look something like taraswiger.libsyn.com/feed).
- Wait anxiously for their approval.
- Share it with your friends + customers!
This list may seem long, but none of the technical things will take any more than 10-15 minutes each.
Once you’ve done this the first time, you only need to do Step #5 + #6 for all future episodes. Two steps!
What takes the longest: YOU – deciding on what you want to say, what you want to call it and how you want to describe it!
Here’s how it worked for me, in a normal work week where I did a zillion other things, including proposing and landing a new contract for a teaching opportunity.
Monday: Decided on a whim what it would be all about (after three years of thinking about it on and off).
Tuesday: Set up all accounts, made image (with a name I decided to change), recorded intro (with the wrong name), recorded first episode.
Wednesday: Did lots of other work. On my breaks, turned my YouTube videos into podcast episodes.*
Thursday: Asked Twitter what to name it. Decided on something else entirely. Redid the image with the new name. Rerecorded intro. Re-edited first episode (I just sent the original file back through Auphonic, attaching the new intro + outro files) – all from my phone. Edited the feed page with a longer description. Submitted the feed to iTunes.
Friday: Waited! When I got the “you’ve been approved” email, I sent the link to two friends to test. Tested it on Jay’s phone with the Podcasts app. Tested in on my phone with Downcast. Wrote the introductory blog post. Danced around!
*This took me some research, so let me tell you how I did it.
How to turn your own YouTube video into an audio podcast:
- From your Video Manager page on YouTube, download your video as an MP4.
- In Auphonic, add the MP4 as your audio file. Fill out the details (summary, description, intro, outro). Make sure it’s set to send it to Libsyn.
- Click “Start Production.”
- Bam! That’s it! Now it’ll be on Libsyn just like any other podcast and you can schedule it for whenever you want!
Ready to start your own podcast? If you do, I’d love to hear it! And if this tutorial helps you create yours, PLEASE leave a comment with a link to your show!
Like I said yesterday, I’ve been falling in love with podcasts (and their hosts) since 2005. Podcasts introduced me to some of my favorite friends-in-person people: Guido of It’s a Purl Man (he took me on a tour of his neighborhood when I taught at Gather Here); Diane of CraftyPod, now real-life friend + collaborator; Abby of While She Naps (she totally won me over with her straight-talk about money over a chai in Wellesley).
All along, I wanted to jump in and join the fun. In my real life, I talk…a lot. I love leading live explorations (ie, workshops) and I live for long conversations with creative women + biz explorers. Writing just can’t communicate the easy flow that comes when I’m teaching a class or having a great conversation.
When the idea hit me again two weeks ago, I wrote all the reasons I shouldn’t do it. Then I wrote the reasons I should. And after reading over what I wrote, I added one more line:
FOLLOW YOUR ENTHUSIASM. DO IT.
(I’ll talk more about how I launched a podcast tomorrow).
So here it is, my brand new, weekly podcast, Explore Your Enthusiasm.
Podcast: Play in new window
In the inaugural episode, I share what I hope to do with the podcast, and what I hope it does for you. I want a casual space to talk about the more complex issues that I write about: motivation, profitability, and map-making. I want to introduce you to crafters that are doing their own thing, experimenting and following their enthusiasm, and making it work. I want you to know you’re not alone, in whatever it is that feels like a struggle in your creative business: making money, finding motivation, being consistent.
I also share a bit about my own story of becoming a full-time crafter and the real story behind how my yarn company started. (I don’t think I’ve ever told this story!)
I’ll be adding new episodes each Wednesday + sharing them with you here on the blog. There are already a few bonus episodes in iTunes – podcast versions of my most popular videos! These are shorter than normal episodes and will be added to the podcast feed whenever I make a new video lesson (about once a month).
How to listen
- You can listen to it using the player above or download it. (If you’re reading this via email, you may need to click through.)
- You can subscribe to it on iTunes here (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).
- If you want to get all the blog posts, email lessons + links to the podcast in your inbox, subscribe via email.
I’d love to know what you want to hear and who you want to hear from! You can leave a comment or email me privately. You could also give me some ideas by filling out this 5 question survey!
More than anything, I hope you like it. I hope this helps us connect in a new way and helps you feel supported, encouraged and part of this great community of amazing makers.
Podcasts have been by my side at every step in this creative journey, since 2006. From dyeing my first skeins, to spinning every night after my day job, to my first big craft show prep (spinning for 5 hours per day is booooring – ya need some entertainment), to my first days self-employed. I talk about the books I read every month, but I hardly ever talk about this super-influential medium and I’d like to fix that.
This week I’m honoring the medium with a kind of “podcast week” here on the blog. Today I’ll share my favorites, tomorrow I’ll introduce you to my podcast and on Thursday I’ll tell you how I started a podcast in one week (after three years of thinking about it).
The whole process of creating my podcast has me thinking about my favorite podcasts and how much the “scene” has changed since Jay bought my very first iPod Shuffle in 2006, to listen to the very first podcasts I discovered: Cast-On + KnitCast (This episode of Cast-On influenced my entire business direction.) Soon I was mainlining CraftyPod and CraftSanity and This American Life and Stash + Burn.
I listen to different podcasts today, but I love them just as much as ever. Before I share my own tomorrow, I wanted to talk about podcasts from a listener’s perspective. The following shows are my inspiration – not just in podcasting, but in life. (True Story: When someone gets in your head with their voice, you carry them around with you.) I find it hard to describe what’s great about a piece of media, so instead of telling you what it’s about, I’ll just tell you when I listen and if you’re curious download an episode or two and try it for yourself!
5 podcasts I listen to every week:
Srini is my go-to running partner. (He doesn’t know. In reality, he’s only consented to the Oceanside Pier while discussing exceptionalism.) His interviews with creatives keep me company as I train for my upcoming 10k. The length is just right for keeping me from looking at my watch + I always have 100 new ideas to write in my journal the minute I end my run. Bonus points for interviewing as many women as men (there’s a huge gender divide in the business podcast-world. It makes me crazy.)
I started with the Political Gabfest and now subscribe to them all, via the “daily podcast” feed. I listen every week while sewing or washing dishes. Bonus points for being one Jay and I both like – perfect for road tripping.
You know I love a nerd, and Alton’s a big food nerd. Lately he’s been interviewing the most interesting food-people + it fits perfectly into cooking a bit-longer meal while cleaning up as I go.
This one’s brand-new but has already earned a spot in my weekly rotation, usually while I’m cooking dinner – it’s the perfect length for a quick dinner!
This one just makes me happy and is the perfect sewing companion. I’m pretty sure Linda Holmes and I would be friends.
3 more favorite podcasts:
I don’t listen to these every week – but they’re on heavy rotation:
Nerdist – I love the casual, conversational style of interview and Chris Hardwick hits all my nerdy buttons. Jay + I save up episodes and listen together during road trips. It’s often pretty long, which is perfect when you’re staring down a 4 hour drive.
While She Naps with Abby Glassenberg – I love Abby’s honesty and authenticity when it comes to how she runs her business. She talks to a wide variety of people in the fiber art world…but of course I’m biased because she invited me on as a guest.
CraftLit - I dip in and out of Heather’s amazing podcast, picking up specific books and following along. This is a totally genius solution if you: feel like you missed out on “getting” literature (or you just never read it), are learning English, are homeschooling, or just want to seem/feel smarter.
You’ll notice I don’t have any strictly-business or strictly-knitting podcasts (although there are a zillion of each.) The truth is, after being bored to tears the last time I looked for new ones (um..3 years ago?), I haven’t even tried any new ones (unless people I already read start a podcast, like Elise + Abby.) I’d love to find some new ones – what do you listen to?
You can click here to tell me in a quick 5-question survey.
One thing that comes up every time I talked about money-making with a group of women is “need” and who needs what and how much and how this impacts their work. This is a loaded, emotionally-charged issue, but it’s time we talk about this openly and without shame.
The simple fact is:
Some makers need to make money from their craft in order to pay the bills + some makers do not need this money to pay the bills.
I think of this as the Spectrum of Money Need. There are some of us on the far side of MUST make this money to pay the bills. If you’re single or if you’re the main “breadwinner”in the family – your business, no matter how much you love it, has to support you financially. On the far other end are those who have another income that pays all of their bills (this might be a day job or a partner’s income). Most business owners are somewhere in the middle. (Perhaps you have a part-time job, or your creative work brings in 35% or 70% of your needs.)
Everyone, no matter their need, deserves to be paid for the work of their hands.
This is why I created Pay Yourself and this is the reason students across the spectrum love it – makers are ready to start valuing their work.
This is a common rallying cry around the craft community, but it usually get stuck in the “people should charge more” debate. I take it a step further. It is not your buyer’s job to be sure you’re paid fairly. It’s not the community’s job to set a standard of fair prices.
It’s your job. It’s your responsibility to price your work competently, to know your expenses, to be aware of your Break Even Point. It’s your responsibility to not only know these numbers, but to make smart decisions informed by them. It’s your responsibility to keep paying attention to what your business and customers are telling you. And it’s your responsibility to stay open to change.
No matter what you need in terms of income – you have this responsibility if you want to build a sustainable, satisfying business*. No matter what you need, you have no more (or less) right to be paid fairly, and no more (or less) responsibility to make that happen.
There are differences – where you are on the Spectrum of Money Needs will impact what you struggle with. Makers who don’t feel a pressing “need” for the money often feel weird about charging for their work, or making decisions based on the numbers. Makers who desperately need the money so that they can continue to eat often feel overwhelmed and frustrated. They want to know exactly what to do to make it all work out. (Triple the stress if you have other people counting on you to feed them as well.)
You see, your hesitations and fears are normal. You are not alone. You are not more or less deserving than the crafter next to you.
No matter where you are in this spectrum – you deserve to be paid.
Your work is worth the effort. Your gifts are worth the work you’ll do to find the profitability. Only by truly believing this, and taking on the responsibility for your own business, will you find your way to what you want. (And remember – you get to define success for yourself.)
While you’re at it, while you’re working on believing in your own worth, take a moment to accept the worth of everyone else. Let’s stop debating who has a “real” business and let’s stop trying to figure out who is making “real” money. You just don’t know. You don’t know how hard anyone else works or their own issues with self-worth. You don’t know, so stop using it as a yardstick (or excuse) for your own goals.
If you’re ready to get real about your own numbers + take responsibility for making money, check out Pay Yourself – it’s now a self-paced e-course and for this week only it’s on sale – $20 off. If you’re ready to value your work and get paid, this class will help you find the profitability and improve on it.
*Don’t care about making money on your craft? That’s ok! Check out: Is it a business or a hobby?
Welcome! Come right in and make yourself comfy!
I’m so so happy to introduce you to my redesigned site! It’s been an amazing (and overwhelming) experience and I’ve learned SO much.
(If you’re reading this via email, click through to see my brand new site!)
The changes represent a massive visual re-branding, created + implemented by Jessika Hepburn. Well, it can hardly be considered a “re”-branding, since I didn’t have visual branding to begin with.
And this brings us to the lessons I learned:
- Just because you have a website doesn’t mean you have a visual brand.
A website designer is not the same as a visual branding specialist. (Although some do awesome visual branding, you should be clear up front on what you’re looking for.) You see, a website designer will design your website – give you a cool template, and maybe make a few buttons for you. But they’re not looking at the entire visual identify of your business. And for many of you graphic designers + artists – that’s perfect, because you are skilled at creating your own visual identity.
But I am not. I can use Photoshop and I know what I like, but that doesn’t mean I can illustrate or even come up with the ideas of what will communicate what I want to communicate. As Jessika said when we started this process: Your voice is SO clear in your words, you just need your visuals to match it.
Although there was also a change to my website’s layout, the focus was on creating a cohesive visual presence, that matched with my words + my work, so that as soon as you land here, you can get it.
- You are responsible for knowing what you want. But often someone else can spot your sparkle better than you can.
Whether you’re working with a designer, an exploration guide, or a hairstylist – you have to know what it is you want. You need to be clear on what you do, who you serve, and how you want them to feel. So your first step is to get crystal clear on that (which is what the first 2 chapters of my book help you do.)
But then, once you’re really in it, sometimes you can’t see what makes you so special – that special blend of happiness and delight that you bring into your customer’s life. This is where working with a professional is so important – they can see what you do well + how that’s different from what other people do + how to communicate that. (This assumes you’re working with someone who really *gets* you.)I hope that what I really wanted out of the redesign (for you to feel comfortable and happy and encouraged) + what Jessika spotted in my work (silliness + boldness + adventure) comes across in what you see on the page. (I think it does!)
- Prioritize what you want your reader to do.
Even though I literally wrote the book on this (Chapter 4), it was still super hard. This is where knowing your customer’s path comes in.* I’ve learned that the path most customers take is –>read blog + like it –> subscribe to email lessons –> buy book or class –> join Starship (once inside the Starship, we work together one-on-one). This leads to the best, most productive relationships, with the biggest transformations in their business, so it’s my job to make that path clear + easy.
*I’ll be teaching a brand-new class about this next month!
How can you make your Customer Path even easier?
Now that you know what went on behind the scenes, here’s what actually changed:
- I have a home page! It’ll help you navigate to whatever you need.
- I have a shop! Finally, all of my classes, guides, books, and adventures are in one spot. (And I have a cart! So you can buy more than one thing at a time without checking out multiple times! Magic!)
- A brand-new page for new readers. If you’re not sure where to start, this page will introduce you to what you can find (and where!)
- Check out the new footer – no matter what page you land on, you’ve got a chance to meet me (hi!) + learn a bit about being an explorer.
- Stars, smiling planets, and pink! Jessika did a glorious job designing my new logo (up top!) and adorable illustrations for my products.
The smiling planet is my fave. Isn’t it adorable?!
A note for subscribers
- If you subscribe to the blog via email, you don’t have to do a thing, you’ll still get the messages same as always.
- If you use an RSS reader, you’ll have to update it to link to taraswiger.com/blog/feed.
- If you only get the weekly message but you’d like to get the blog posts too, you can always edit your subscription by heading here, putting in your info and “update subscription”
And that’s it!
Do you have any questions about the process or the new site?
PS. Jessika isn’t just a designer, she’s also a genius community-builder + supporter. If you’d like to meet more of our community + get away from it all, check out her Maker’s Retreat.