As the first season of The Widest Net Podcast comes to a close, host Pamela Slim discusses lessons learned, recounts topic and guest highlights, recognizes the podcast marketing and production teams, and provides a glimpse into what to look forward to as the next season of The Widest Net launches in just a few weeks.
What Is a Beacon?
00:07 – Pam
Welcome to The Widest Net Podcast. I am Pamela Slim. I’m an author, a business coach, and co-founder with my husband, Darrell, of the Main Street Learning Lab here in Mesa, Arizona. But I guess you knew that if we are all the way at the last episode of season one of my brand-new podcast. I am so excited to be recording this shorter episode really focused on reflections on creating my own beacon, in the vernacular of The Widest Net,
00:37 – Pam
which is this podcast. What I want to do is to share the insights that we’ve learned along the way and a little bit about the vision for what’s next. As those of you might remember, if you have started from the beginning of this podcast,
00:52 – Pam
it’s not the first time that I’ve had a podcast. I started the Escape from Cubicle Nation one in 2006 and ran that quite a few years – I think about eight years – and loved it. I had so much fun. It was super low-tech. And it was obviously very related to my book of the same name and a strong brand that I had at that time. So, as I really was transitioning through my own work, when I wrote Body of Work, I began to do deeper work with people in scaling their businesses.
But really, I wanted to wait to write this latest book, The Widest Net, which is really the heart and soul, I think, of work that I’m meant to do in the world and is the kind of topic that I can talk about for a really long time. Because that’s always something I recommend to my clients, is when you’re choosing to start something new, like write a book or start a podcast, make sure that you can really be in it for the long haul. So, that’s what got me excited about starting this up again.
I want to just define for those of you who might not have read the book yet what a beacon is. So, a beacon in the Widest Net Method and book is a specific vehicle that you use as the business owner or thought leader to be communicating your point of view or your thought leadership. Typically, we think about things like an email newsletter or a podcast as something that you control, where you really use it to let people know who you are and what you think, your ideas. And I think more and more, to share other people in the ecosystem, like I’ve done in this podcast season, with your audience or with your listeners. And so, a beacon typically is something that’s really important to complement the work that you’re doing, where you are really evaluating the ecosystem that surrounds your ideal client. So normally, you might look for other people’s podcasts, for example, as a place for you to show up to get visibility, because somebody else has done the hard work of building that audience. Or maybe you speak at a live event that, you know, is filled with ideal clients and customers.
All those are based on really the earlier stages in the Widest Net Method of identifying the watering holes, those places online and in person where you have a great number of ideal clients, and partners, and potentially sponsors that somebody else has gathered. When you do that, and then you just begin to become much more clear about your own thought leadership, a beacon can be a really successful way to be communicating that clearly.
So, I have historically had an email newsletter, believe it or not, for the last 18 years. I started in 2004. I love it. I am a writer. I’ve had some people that have been on my list all of that time, which is astounding to me. But I really was feeling like I was ready for more of a fresh start, a medium that I think more people are tuned into these days, and really a way to be highlighting the amazing people that I have as partners, that are other thought leaders. I love it when I can be listening to somebody else’s podcast or read something on LinkedIn and immediately get the thought of like, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to invite that person on my podcast.’ It’s a really creative way of bringing conversations together and, I think, really developing and extending the thought leadership that I have.
So, that is what a beacon is, in this case a primary communication vehicle. I still absolutely will continue to write my email newsletter, because I love doing it and it’s a really important part of my marketing operations so people are aware of the kinds of offers that I have, classes, and coaching offers, and those kinds of things. But I’m really putting a lot more fresh creative energy and investment in the podcast this time around. You can also have a beacon that is a brick and mortar
Lessons Learned in the First Season of The Widest Net Podcast
05:00 – Pam
order. And that is actually what we have here at the Main Street Learning Lab. This happens to be a physical space in a real, live ecosystem where it is a gathering spot for people who want to be connecting. So, I get to live a lot of cool beacons through the work that I do. And sometimes it’s a little bit much. It is a lot of things to keep rolling. But personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the mix of work that we do locally as well as the work that I get to do with my amazing clients all over the world.
So, in the development of this new beacon, in the Widest Net Podcast, there’s a couple of lessons that I wanted to share. And first of all, it’s really more around getting back in the rhythm of doing something creatively consistently when I have a team that’s dependent upon my output. It was like, just getting everything going, getting the art, getting everything up on Lipson and iTunes, and all of that, all of you can imagine, it always takes a lot more steps than you think. It was the amazing team at 31 Marketplace led by La’Vista Jones – who I’ll talk a lot more about her and her team in a little bit. They did most of that work, but just getting it up and running with our deadline of May the Fourth – because I am a Star Wars nerd – was kind of an amazing feat with everything else we had going on.
So, we got it going. And then I found that I was recording my episodes one, and then I’d have a couple of weeks and do the other one. And I was starting to get a little bit behind in the production that the amazing team at 31 Marketplace needed in order to have ease and space in their production. So, that was really important to learn that I really needed to batch the recording so I could get a bunch done in advance so that my team could have the time that they needed to get their work done. And it can feel otherwise like there’s a train that’s chasing you for the production team, if they’re kind of waiting to catch the recording so that they can do their production but knowing they’re running up against the launch time. And I don’t like to create that kind of stress for other people. I happen to be somebody who could do things last minute, and I’m actually really working on that. The older that I get and the more that I want to have a strategic focus on my business, I don’t get a rush with kind of sliding into homebase at the last minute. I would rather get things done in advance and to batch the recording. So, that was one really big lesson. May be a basic thing for folks who have had a podcast for a long time, but it did take quite a bit to get everything up and running when we started.
The other thing is it really just takes time to get your groove. Having patience with technical issues, trying to just get things shipped as opposed to being stuck in perfection, the, you know, the inevitable thing of like asking a fancy guest to be on the podcast and because it’s new, they may not be excited to do it. Like that actually happened, which was disappointing. But I’m like, you know what? That’s just part of what it means to be starting something new and getting it rolling. So, I really just tried to practice growth mindset. And know that it takes time to get in the groove. Always think about, okay, maybe we had a technical, you know, an imbalance or something in the voices that we have on the podcast. How can we improve it and make it better next time, as opposed to getting obsessed with everything having to be perfect?
So, I’m hoping to your dear ears, those listeners that have been listening from the beginning, that it’s been okay. We’re always committed to get better, and we’d love to hear it with some feedback if there’s anything that you would prefer that we do or don’t do.
08:58 – Pam
The other thing is really around the growth of audience. I do believe more and more that slow, steady growth is better than a gigantic wave of growth. And that’s really what it is that we have looked to do with a podcast, having consistency of how we’re publishing and then having the numbers slowly grow.
I will give you the numbers as of today, which is September 20, 2022. We’re at 880 all-time downloads. So, some of you who’ve been doing a podcast for a long time may snicker at that number. I think it’s pretty cool. We just started in May. September, we had all the beginning things to start up. We see more people each time we publish that are downloading new listeners. And there really has been a progression. I think I had maybe three quarters of a million downloads or something like that on Escape from Cubicle Nation. And that is based on doing it for a long time,
10:00 – Pam
and having more visibility through the blog, and so forth. I just know that this takes time. And the thing that is amazing to me and stunning is, even though I have not published a new episode for years on the Escape from Cubicle Nation podcast, I still get daily, and weekly, and monthly downloads. So, there’s still growth on that podcast, even though it is not as fresh as this one. So slow, steady growth, I think, is really good. And that’s something as a team that we’re really looking to do.
10:33 – Pam
In terms of
10:35 – Pam
having a team that manages the audio production and marketing assets, that has been a massive improvement to the last beacon, the last podcast that I had at Escape from Cubicle Nation, because there was so much work involved in producing the audio and creating the graphic assets that Tanika Lothery does in Canva, posting on LinkedIn using audiograms, blog posts. All of you know there’s so much that goes into the production and distribution. And it is like Christmas, when, on Wednesdays when the episodes are published, when I can look on LinkedIn and see that my post about the podcast is there, the episode is up and running, the graphics are all there, and it is the best investment that I have ever made to have that. There is no way I ever would have been able to do this project without having a team. So that for sure is a prerequisite for me right now as I do not ever want to do this just by myself. And I think it makes a big difference if you’re a busy entrepreneur like me, that you have a team that helps with a production and marketing distribution.
Topics Covered During Season One
11:45 – Pam
In terms of topics, I am going to name names. I hope nobody gets jealous, because many of my guests for the first season were friends. But the top episodes so far, number one was actually episode 007, which was with Emad G or G, my past client, and the topic was growing a service-based business by productizing IP. So, congratulations, even though it wasn’t, like, a competition, Emad. But it seems to be a hot topic, which is great. The number two highest amount of downloads and listeners was episode 005, from Friction to Flow to Free Time: Finding Joy in Systems with my friend Jenny Blake and her great book, Free Time.
So, I just think that’s interesting. I love from, again, the beacon perspective, being able to notice with some data behind it, what are the kinds of topics that people are connecting with. And it’s exciting to me, both the fact that those two happened to be the top two. I think I have amazing episodes talking about partnership, talking about building an inclusive recruiting model, branding, standing out, there’s so many great episodes that we have in the season. But just seeing that top of mind for people in a lot of my audience are things that I’m actively working on in the business. I do so much work now with productizing, IP building, helping people with licensing and certification models, really scaling through IP. So, it’s good to see as market validation that the kinds of things I’m doing in my business are also things that my audience is interested in. So, those I think are cool ways that you can start to use some of the metrics when you have a podcast.
13:33 – Pam
The other the other thing I think that has been interesting in a lesson learned is it is a little bit quiet. So, here I am, in my office right now recording the episode staring into my screen. Even when I do the interviews, which I love, with people who are on the episodes, I don’t really hear much back. It’s not like when I send out a newsletter, and I get a bunch of emails back people responding to what I wrote. It feels a little bit like crickets. So, I’m thinking maybe we need to put a little bit more calls to action out there.
If you happen to be listening right now, and you’re not driving, you could send a tweet to @PamSlim. Or send me a little LinkedIn message at Pamela Slim, and let me know if you’re listening, what’s your favorite episode, maybe what it is that you’d love to hear in the future, that would be amazing. Because otherwise it is a little bit hard to get the feedback. And I’ve intentionally not been pressing too hard on getting a whole number of podcast reviews. Now that we have a season underneath us, I would love to get that where we can get some more feedback, people writing reviews on iTunes. I know that that really helps when people are discovering new podcasts. And so, if you happen to be listening on a favorite podcast vehicle, and you could write a review, we would love it. I would really appreciate it.
The Widest Net Podcast Team
14:56 – Pam
Finally, the team that I have worked with is so
15:00 – Pam
amazing, and it’s no shock given The Widest Net is all about working together. There’s no way I ever could have done this this work alone. My team is mostly comprised of the 31 Marketplace team that’s run by the CEO, La’Vista Jones. And on that team is Tanika Lothery, who also works with me – lucky me – Maddie Russo, audio production by Jose Arboleda. And then I’ve also had support this first season with my friend Jose Miranda at Salt Mine studios here locally in Mesa and the voiceover actor of the year for 2021, Andia Winslow, who you hear on her wonderful intro and outro for this podcast. We had lots of great support on the marketing side from Wayward Kind, from Jules Taggart and her team, which I appreciate so much. So, it really has been a blast to get it done with a team, and it feels so good to be doing work with a team. I really, really appreciate each and every one of them.
16:04 – Pam
And thank you, if you’re listening team. I love you very much, and I appreciate you.
Looking Ahead to Next Season
So next season… we’re just going to take a little bit of a couple week break. But next season, I’m going to dig deeper into licensing and certification models as a way to scale your business, because it seems to be a hot topic, one I’m working on a lot. How to build a culture that makes your team want to work with you. We’re going to talk about self-care and systems with La’Vista Jones herself, who has a brand-new book coming out soon.
16:36 – Pam
We’ll talk about writing and launching books and so much more. If you have a desired topic that I cover on this podcast that’s around the general topics of growing a business, scaling a business, building partnerships, building community, let me know. I would love to hear your ideas.
So, thank you so much for listening. Thank you everybody who’s been involved in season one, and I am so thrilled, and I cannot wait to dig into season two.