Today I’m talking to Monica Packer from the “About Progress” podcast. Let me tell you a little about her. Her podcast is all about empowering women “to create radical growth in sustainable ways.” She’s not going to make you feel overwhelmed or nervous about starting a podcast, but you will get practical tips and behind the scenes information about starting your own podcast. If you’ve ever wondered if starting a podcast is in your future, keep reading, these podcasting secrets are for you!
Monica has been podcasting for a really long time and killing it at it. Introduce yourself to us, Monica!
I’m Monica Packer and I’m the host of About Progress. It’s’ a self development show for women and we focus on lasting, huge transformations done in sustainable ways. We do that by focusing on 3 areas, identity, purpose, and productivity. I couldn’t have said that a few years ago, which shows how you can grow and change with podcasting. My podcast has really changed my life in a lot of ways. Because of my show I feel different, I feel more like myself. I can better handle what is going on in my life.
How did podcasting help you figure out what your business was about?
That’s a chicken and the egg question for me. I did know that I wanted to help support my family financially. I knew I wouldn’t make money with podcasting overnight. But I did know that I wanted to connect with people over my message of living a life about progress not perfectionism and I also had a long term goal of helping to support my family with my podcast.
Over the course of the last 4 years of doing this, I’ve grown in understanding my audience and their needs. Now I’m trying my best to serve my audience not only through my free podcast, but also through coaching programs, courses I’m offering, and a new membership group that I’m launching. As I have gotten to know my audience better over the years and as I’ve been able to refine my niche and what I’m here for as a podcaster, I’m better able to serve my audience which creates a cycle of trust with them.
Who should consider starting a podcast as part of their business?
I think everyone could benefit from podcasting, but I would say that you don’t need to do all the things first. I would say that podcasting is for you if you have a message. Or if you could talk about something or interview people about something forever because it’s something that you are so passionate about and interested in. But even if you don’t have a specific topic you love, or a message you want to share, if you just want to bring people a feeling– happiness, or joy, etc– then podcasting can still be a good fit for you.
One of my podcasting secrets is that you don’t have to choose building an income stream or building a podcast. You can have both. It just takes time and you need to learn your audience and grow with them. The key is to pick something you’re passionate about, period. It’s a long game and a rollercoaster ride. There’s always going to be downtimes. You have to have something that is going to help you ride the highs and lows of podcasting so you don’t give up.
Tell me the story behind your podcast title, “About Progress”. Why is that topic such a passion for you?
I’ve talked on my podcast about how perfectionism robbed me of myself throughout my life. I didn’t realize for a long time that my overachiever tendencies were not healthy. And then the pendulum swung the other way and I was faced with a time when I was an underachiever. I didn’t work on myself or make goals for probably 8 years. Because of my fear of falling into the traps of perfectionism that I had been in before (which manifested in eating disorders), I wouldn’t let myself make goals at all.
When I turned 30, I realized that I was watching other people accomplishing really cool things and I realized that I wanted to try new things. So I made a list of things I wanted to try. And one of the items on my list was to start a blog. I’d wanted to do it for a long time, but hadn’t. My blog evolved into other things, which led to me starting a podcast. The point wasn’t the outcome, it was the journey. All of these things led me to where I am today.
My community is full of women who are ready for more out of their lives. These women are ready to do something that they’ve been wanting to do and challenge themselves. And not because they are attached to the outcome, but because they know the growth that comes from the process. In the beginning of my podcast, I was focused on the stories and telling stories of women. Then, I moved on to focus on what the experts were saying. Now, my podcast is a blend of the two. Your podcast will evolve. That’s the joy in it. If you don’t want to evolve in podcasting, it might not be the right fit for you.
What are some tips for starting a podcast?
I have a course called Podcast U, and the part that I teach in there is all about starting a podcast. In this course people want me to just go right into the technology, hardware, and how to actually record and create podcast episodes. I do share all of those things, but I also go into what I’ve shared with you, Michelle. You need to have a strong ‘why’. You need to know in your heart why you are doing this. Think about why you are podcasting and what your show is about. Also, think about what you want your listeners to feel. Do you want a serious podcast or a fun, lighthearted podcast? There’s a place for both. What do you want to put out there? When you know this it will help you with so many things.
Do you have any podcasting secrets or tips to share on interviewing guests?
This is a whole lesson in my course, it’s a huge deal. Knowing how to interview someone can make or break your show. Remember, you can and will improve. The most important thing when interviewing someone is to know why they are there on your show. Do not make it about the numbers. Some of my favorite episodes are with people who just lived in my neighborhood. And those are the episodes that people resonate with the most, too. Because they are real people that you can relate to easily. So, one of my podcasting secrets is to be really clear about why your guest is on your show. And don’t forget to be really clear with them about why they are there as well. They need to know what you expect from them.
When I pitch people to come on my show, I know what the topic is going to be. I know what the episode title is going to be. When they agree to come on the show, I send them 3-5 questions that I will be asking her. This way she is prepared for what we will be talking about. And I let her know that we aren’t going off a script, but rather, the questions I send are more of a guide.
Another one of my biggest podcasting secrets for interviewing is to always remember that I want the person I’m interviewing to shine. This helps me to really focus on them and listen to what they are saying in the interview instead of focusing on what I’m going to say next. It helps me to relax and enjoy the interview more, and it helps whoever I’m interviewing to feel more comfortable.
Let’s talk about monetization. How long did it take you to monetize your podcast? How do you monetize it?
First of all, I’ve made hundreds of mistakes with my show. I feel like this area is one that I wish I could go back and do differently. I think I could have started monetizing earlier. Especially if I had given myself permission to have more authority on what I could bring to the table. I had a difficult time believing that I could ask for money.
I started monetizing about 2 years into producing my podcast, but earlier than that I started doing affiliate links. Now, this is one of the areas I talk about in my course. I want to save other people from making the same mistakes I did when it comes to monetizing. I feel that everyone should have an ad spot in their show. Whether or not you have someone else advertising on your podcast, you need somewhere in your show that encourages your audience to take action. When you are just starting a podcast, it could be just to encourage them to join your email list, and then when you have affiliate links to promote, you can advertise those in that spot in your show. It might take a while, but in time the money will come. You will find your audience and your niche, and the sponsorships will come.
“It really doesn’t matter what your numbers are. It’s more about how well you are serving people. It doesn’t matter how many people are listening, it’s how well you know them.”
What was your push to start selling things that are your own creation?
I realized I needed to get to the next level. While my podcast is really fulfilling, it’s also a significant demand on my family life. I knew it was time to get to the next level and make this be a steady income and create more abundance.
Another instigator is the fact that we had some special needs diagnoses in our children and the costs relating to those have forced me to really level up with my podcast and my business.
Will you tell me more about Podcast U? Who is it for?
My business partner, Rachel Nielson, and I both love podcasting. She has her own podcast called 3 in 30 Takeaways for Moms. We have bonded over podcasting, teaching others how to podcast and sharing podcasting secrets. So, together we decided that we would create a series of courses about not only starting your own podcast, but also on growing a podcast. We have free classes this month (September 2020) and we are so excited to share them with you. Click here to find out more and sign up. And to enroll in Podcast U, click here.
You all know how I feel about women’s voices being needed in this world. I love this Podcast U from Monica and Rachel because it is a great way for women to share their stories and encourage other women to be better. For more podcasting secrets from Monica and myself, be sure to listen to the full podcast linked at the beginning of this blog post. Follow me on Instagram for more business building tips, tricks, and strategies. And don’t forget about my coaching group, Money Makers. I’ll show you how to build your business and make money from the content you’re creating!