Have you ever been listening to your favorite podcast series and wondered how people turn their ideas into podcasts? Are you curious about what it takes to become a podcast producer? Dreamed of being a freelance podcast producer? Have you heard about the Podcast Production School course, and considered taking it?
Did you answer yes to any of these? Then this fascinating interview with a Podcast Production School graduate is worth a read!
Why become a podcast producer?
Podcasts might be one of the most portable learning and entertainment options for busy, multitasking parents. Whether we’re listening in the car, while doing housework, or while we’re out walking the dog. No matter what you want to hear about, there is a podcast out there, somewhere, for you!
Making great podcasts great takes time and effort. A lot of editing and production work happens between recording and publication. Freelance podcast producers take raw footage, often in multiple clips, and turn it into the polished, professional episodes we love. They make sure the sounds are crisp and that the jingles and tags land in all the right places. They might also be responsible for distribution and public relations, as well as pitching potential guests and sponsors.
Many podcast producers work remotely, which makes this a great anywhere and anytime career for work-from-home parents. According to ZipRecruiter's podcast producer salary report, it's also profitable. Average salaries are around $50,000.
If you’re interested in becoming a podcast producer, you have many options for learning your trade. We touched on podcast production training options here.
How can I learn to become a podcast producer?
One of these options was the online Podcast Production School. It's currently closed while merging into the Fully Booked VA program. I wanted to bring you more information on what online training to become a podcast producer is like. So I chatted with Stacey Phillips Webb, founder of A Niche N Time Productions. Stacey is a graduate of Podcast Production School who changed course during the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s also a busy mom of two girls and a PTA president. As you’ll see, being a mom really motivated her to become a podcast producer.
Join me as we talk about how she got started producing podcasts. Stacey also shares how online training benefited her. Plus, she gives me the scoop on what it’s like to be a mom working as a freelance podcast producer.
Hi Stacey!! Great to meet you! What's your “elevator pitch”? (a quick synopsis of who you are and what you do)
Through helping people develop a podcast, I bring to life the personal/professional niche they want to share with the world.
What is your online business?
I founded A Niche N Time Productions to help folks share their niche and story and transform it into something special. This may be a personal story that someone wants to digitize or a podcast they want to start and share with an audience and the world. I am here to help make that happen.
Not only do I produce podcasts, but I am also a graphic designer, stage manager, and voice actor. Other services I provide include voice work for commercials and live events, or sponsor inserts for podcasts that I’m producing. I also offer graphic design services for podcast production services and other projects, and I can produce “small-time” videos for social media or personal use.
When did you become a podcast producer – and what inspired you to take this leap into starting your own business?
I actually decided to start my own company while sitting at my parents’ beach house on COVID furlough from an event production company. An old colleague had heard about Podcast Production School and thought it was right up my alley. I took a look, discussed it with my husband and parents, and decided to jump right in. I signed up for the program and started investigating the ins and outs of podcasting.
Many folks see negatives from the pandemic experience and how it has affected their lives. For me, the pandemic had a positive effect. It gave me the opportunity to spend more quality time with my family and children, to make a career move, and to become my own boss. As I started my research and classes that summer, my father and I started brainstorming names for my company. He told me I had a niche: to help folks and see the best in them. That led us to create the “play on words” that seemed natural for my venture: A Niche N Time Productions.
When did you start your training to become a podcast producer?
I joined Podcast Production School in the summer of 2020 and took my time with the course. I wanted to focus on the training and learning the craft and adjust to being an unexpected stay-at-home mom. Since I worked in live events for ten years before the pandemic, I traveled a great deal and missed some life experiences with my girls. This new “adventure” into podcasting has allowed me to spend more time with them and make memories. Plus, I also took some time in between course sessions to relax and do home projects. I had some great “me time” while I was learning the trade.
Which aspects of your training did you find especially helpful?
Taking this course was one of the best things I could have done during my journey of learning how to become a podcast producer. I was able to question, explore ideas, and identify strengths and weaknesses, which helped me learn about my own niche. The course was very well laid out and provided skill training and resources for gathering information and additional training. I liked that I could take my time – there was no pressure to finish within a specific time frame. Podcast Production School also hosts a private Facebook group where you can connect with other classmates for advice, tips, and creative help on a project.
This course also built on skills that I had only just begun to learn during my last few months of working in live events. Melanie Scroggins, Gina Horkey, and Hailey Thomas have put together a fantastic course, and I feel like I am a part of a career/network with the best makings of a family. Even after completing the course, I know they are still there to advise, assist and support our Podcast Production School community.
At what point did you establish yourself as a freelance podcast producer, and who was your first client?
During the course, I convinced my dad to create a podcast. He is a retired educator and also a singer, songwriter, and children's author. So we made the Touch A Rainbow Podcast, and I used my work on the podcast to help with homework, practice, and so much more throughout the course! As a hands-on learner, this really helped me throughout the program.
I started setting up my business while in the middle of the course and launched upon completing it. I had partnered with my dad to practice my podcast production skills as I learned, and he became my first official client! Having a dad who let me guide, teach, practice on, and learn from him during the course was an experience I will forever have with him. It is so much fun to sit and create with him and to hear the childhood memories and stories I grew up with being shared with the world through his podcast.
How did you grow your freelance podcast producer business from there?
My experience and skills in event production, graphic design, stage management, and theater provided me with a range of opportunities to develop. After taking the podcast production course, I narrowed my focus towards helping clients with the production and creative parts of their niche. While taking the course, I started to reconnect with old friends and past colleagues and share what I was starting with them. I received a lot of encouragement and “when you are ready to launch, let me know” conversations. I set up my EIN and began work on my website and logo, and launched A Niche N Time Productions on February 1, 2021.
Lifelong learning can help us – and our businesses – grow. Have you taken any other business-related courses since you finished the Podcast Production School course?
I continue to take classes online with Udemy.com to enhance my skills and to learn new ones. Currently, I’m learning SEO, so I can better help my clients and my company.
It’s often hard for new entrepreneurs to ask financial questions, but businesses do need to earn money. We really appreciate your willingness to share this aspect of your journey to become a podcast producer! How much did you budget for your business startup costs, and how did you plan your spending?
To be honest, the budget for me was difficult. I knew I needed programs/software and equipment to be able to produce podcasts and run my own business, so I put a plan in place to get the basics at first and then grow from there. I also had long conversations with friends and colleagues that owned businesses, and their advice was constructive. With some subscriptions, equipment, software items, I spent around $1000 to start. My website and a new computer were my most significant expenses initially, and I keep a list of my next “must-haves” to build my business as my client list and income grows. I also asked for recommendations from others, and they helped me evaluate whether or not I really needed some of my wishlist items.
I was unemployed during my classes, but my husband was still working, so financially, we were stable. Communication with my husband was a key goal, and we reviewed my business plan and purchases together.
Many programs and subscription services offer free options or trials. Take advantage of those, and you can get things started without having to spend a lot. If you like the program and it helps improve your skills or services, then move ahead and purchase and, if you can afford the cost upfront, do the yearly fee rather than monthly. That helps to save, and you can budget more effectively.
I would also advise getting a Quickbooks account or something similar to track spending, invoicing, time tracking, and more. A plan that incorporates estimated quarterly taxes is of enormous importance for me to budget better when April taxes come around.
About how long did it take you to recoup your initial investment in your podcast production business?
I was lucky enough to get a couple of clients out of the gate, where I recouped and made some profit. Since I also do graphic design work, I can have a steady income with those projects as I gather more podcast clients. I currently have two podcast clients and am working on a possible third.
How many hours a week do you work? Do you have a flexible schedule?
Coming from a 9-5 (and more) job, it has been difficult to break some habits of “work, work, work!” But I'm trying to adjust and create flexible, efficient schedules. While my children are in school, I shoot for a basic 9-5 workday but know that I may need to stop early to be with them when they come home, make dinner, etc. During summer, I changed my schedule to spend more time with them and balance work with fun! I currently use Calendly to schedule calls and meetings with clients. With the arrival of summer, I have adapted that schedule to be more flexible and have fewer hours.
I feel it’s essential to make time for myself and say, “YES, it is OK TO DO!” It takes practice, but my family is important to me.
What is your favorite part of becoming a freelance podcast producer? Why?
I get to use my skills to create and help folks bring their passion to life. I love making folks shine, and creating has always been my passion, as it gives me true joy. If you love what you do, it's not work. I believe and feel that with all my heart!
It can’t have been easy, juggling family life and trying to build your own podcast production business during the COVID crisis. Any advice for parents anxious about committing time and energy to their own business – especially with younger children?
First and foremost, I am a mom, but I do have a career and believe it's possible to do both! My first piece of advice would be to make time for “self-care” to allow your mind and body to heal from busy/stressful weeks. Stress happens, but you have to take the time to recharge.
Relationships are priceless and important. Be honest and helpful with yourself and your clients – it’s good business practice! If you feed those relationships and make them strong, you never know when that might make a difference. When I’m on a call, I make sure to share upfront that I have two kids, a dog, and a cat, just in case of any outside noises or unexpected sights! I realize that I may not be the right fit for a potential client but might know someone who would be a better fit.
How do your daughters impact your work?
I am a mom of two amazing little girls, 7 and 5. When it comes to my children, they are my creative rocks. I bring them into my projects often. The Touch A Rainbow podcast calls for sound effects and storytelling, so I have them listen or test things out on them, and they love it. They also get to see videos I create, too. It's a lot of fun involving them, and some pretty incredible magic can happen when you bring children into your creative world.
I am also the current PTA president for my daughter’s elementary school and love being a part of it. I have a great relationship with the principal, teachers, and staff and have taken on the school’s social media management and production of videos as needed for school contests, tours, and so on.
Which podcasts do you love listening to?
I listen to The Office Ladies, The Daily Show, and UNC sports, and of course, I especially enjoy my father’s podcast, which I produce!
If you could go back in time on your freelance journey, what one thing would you change? How would you do it differently?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I think I would have done this sooner. I chose to return to live events when I shouldn’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, and I learned so much from my colleagues and clients. I built lasting relationships, but there was always something missing. Joining the PPS course and learning how to become a podcast producer allowed me to take the time to adapt my skills and fill that need. If I could go back in time, I would make the move sooner.
What one tip would you love to share with new online business owners?
Don’t be scared to make a change. Life is constantly changing. If you have an empty feeling in your career, listen to it and find the joy, success, passion, love, and satisfaction you deserve.
As kids, when we were down or felt overwhelmed, my Papa would always say, “Well, just bend over and pick up those bootstraps and keep on moving.” I try to follow that advice and do that every day with my family, life, and now as my own boss. There are going to be challenges, struggles, and experiences that last for a lifetime. I am proud to be my own boss and a full-time mom to some pretty unique and creative kids. When they ask me, “Mommy, what do you do?” I can now reply, “Come and let me show you how I create magic for people!”
Thank you, Stacey!
The Podcast Production School teaches the skills and strategies needed to launch and manage podcasts for small businesses. Their 90-day blueprint can take you from an absolute beginner to running a fully operational podcast.
The Podcast Production School course includes guidance to not only help you become a podcast producer, but also to set up your new freelance podcast producer business. You’ll also learn how to prospect, pitch, and onboard new clients. Plus, you’ll have access to the community Facebook pages, which are full of advice and support.
Are you a freelance podcast producer? How did you become a podcast producer? What’s your favorite part of your work, and why? Share in the comments!