A Podcaster Looks Back: Four Lessons from Four Years on the Air
Who knew I’d celebrate episode 200 and 20K downloads when I started as a podcaster? God, that’s who.
Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all.
A Pirate Looks at 40 by Jimmy Buffett
I remember singing this song at every Jimmy Buffett concert my husband and I attended from the time we started dating in 1991. I don’t think I’d consider us full-fledged Parrot Heads, but we love a beach vibe and a good concert lawn seat.
The title is what struck me this week as I looked back at four years of being a podcaster and host of Redefining Hustle: Pursuing Success as a Christian Woman. The song paints a picture of a veteran sailor who fancies himself a bit of a pirate, having racked up a trail of good and bad adventures on the sea.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a pirate, but after 4 years plus a few months of releasing a weekly podcast, I’d say I’m becoming a veteran podcaster, and I’ve definitely racked up some good and not so good experiences (think poor sound, buffering video, bad editing) along the way.
On May 15, 2023, I published my “official” episode 200, though I’ve 100 more episodes published that are not numbered for one reason or another. So to me, number 200 was the real milestone of the carefully numbered episodes I’ve published since this show started on February 16, 2019, day one of my podcaster adventure.
The very next day, my show surpassed 20,000 downloads! For some shows, that’s chump change. But for me, it’s huge! According to my show stats, it’s been heard in 70 countries around the world, and gets about 1,000 downloads per month now. And that’s a testament to what God does when He gives you a message to share, and you’re obedient to follow through.
When I sit back and think about it, I’m a bit in awe of my consistency and commitment to the long haul of being a podcaster. Not because I don’t see things through, or I leave things unfinished. But mostly for two reasons:
- I had no long-term plan for being a podcaster when I started. More on that in a minute.
- There’s no way I could have done this on my own.
But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God. Matthew 19.26
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Let me take you back to where it all started and give you four lessons from my four years on the air.
LESSON 1: When God says GO, you don’t have to have the whole map to GO!
2014-2018: Ambitious woman gets lost on her way to the top and finds Jesus. He says, “Why don’t you let me drive, and you hold this map (the Bible)?” After a lot of pruning (still going and unending on this side of heaven), He says, “Now go share what you’ve learned about doing business my way with my ambitious daughters.” The redirection from my network marketing (aka multilevel marketing) business was clear: leave that business at His feet and start coaching His daughters.
One thing that business taught me was to use my car as a rolling university, and I’d spent years listening to podcasts, trainings, etc., soaking up knowledge 20-30 minutes at a time. So when my business coach suggested I start a podcast to get all the Holy Spirit-breathed content out to the world, I thought, “that makes sense, but how the heck do I do that?!” I knew nothing about recording or editing technology, microphones, audio files or how to make a closet sound like a studio. She reminded me how much I had gleaned from listening on the go and how much I could impact the busy, high-achieving women I’d been called to serve.
My coach answered that question with two statements:
- Do you believe God gave you this message for the world? (Yes…)
- Then put in your earbuds and click record.
And so I began.
LESSON 2: Do it yourself first to learn, then engage help when God says it’s time (sensing a theme here?)
February 2019-Summer 2021: That first episode is the rawest audio, recorded in my tiny office of the duplex we called home, with no fancy anything. Just me and my earbuds, recording straight into Garage Band, and uploading files to the Blubrry hosting platform. I definitely had logistical guidance from my coach on things recording an intro and outro, licensing music for those, and how to get on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc. But honestly, at the beginning it was just me.
And I’m so grateful I did it that way so I could learn the ins and outs before investing in a real microphone, pop filters and foam balls, headphones, etc., and professional editing. If I had to do it again, I’d still do most of it on my own, but I’d hire a podcast coach to help me plan and launch from the beginning (which is a role I didn’t even know existed! Click the link to see who I recommend!)
LESSON 3: God didn’t make us to walk out our assignments alone
Summer 2021-December 2022: Remember I said I had no plan for where this show was going? So much for my own understanding (listen to episode 199 for more on that topic!). God said, “Time to level up!” So I did. I had been doing everything on my own long enough and He knew I needed reinforcements for this Kingdom assignment!
- I invested in good equipment, an audio editor, and a copywriter for helping with show notes. It was a tremendous help to have these people on my team (outsourced) as my coaching roster and speaking calendar filled up.
- I found a podcasting community specifically built for Christian podcasters: Spark Media, and they served as my cheerleaders and encouragers, provided expert insights, and led me to opportunities like sponsorships with AccessMore and Edifi Podcasts. I was honored to have my show named Best Business Podcast at their 2022 conference!
LESSON 4: Serve the people and let God take care of the rest.
So, what has happened since then? I’ve continued to serve.
Because above all else, that’s God’s purpose for my podcast.
In the four years I’ve been on the air, I’ve had at least 30 guests who are also Christians in business that pour into my audience. The show has covered topics from anxiety and mindset to consistency and commitment. We’ve talked about how God prepares and positions, overcoming imposter syndrome, money and more. Bringing topics to light that break the chains of overwhelm and overachievement for ambitious women, so they can scale and grow with God leading them. To bring them out of the enemy’s fog and into clarity, serenity and fulfillment. To bring Biblical truth to business with practical application and give listeners tangible lessons on the go. Just like I experienced way back when, and still do today.
Often people ask if my podcast is the “top of my funnel” for my business, and the answer is it’s more than that. Yes, I have engaged clients through my podcast. Yes, it’s the way many potential clients find me. Even more, it’s an outlet for other Christian leaders to share their wisdom and their work. It’s a medium for teaching anyone, especially high-achieving women, that while God made them ambitious, He didn’t make them to work the world’s way. His way, emulating Jesus in our own mission in the marketplace, is so much better. Calmer. More joyful. More impactful. And yes, one way we can yield MUCH fruit for His Kingdom.
Looking back, these milestones mean so much because they point to the fact that my obedience to share the message of redefining hustle truly impacts His people for His Kingdom and glory. In the end, it’s taken commitment, consistency and community. It’s led me to clarity, serenity and fulfillment. Funny enough, those are the exact topics I cover on the show, in this blog, and in my social media content. Coincidence? I think not.
I hope these four lessons help you step forward or keep going in God’s assignment. Don’t worry, friend, He’s got you. And there’s no better place to be than in His grip!
If you have outward success but inward warring with your faith and priorities, I hear you. I see you. And it doesn’t have to be this way. God made you to be ambitious, but He didn’t make you to work the world’s way. I’m the coach that can help. Let’s chat about working together: https://erinharrigan.com/discoverycall