The Time I Almost Quit Podcasting

Hello, hello. Welcome to episode 520 of this glorious podcast. Today is going to be a little bit different. It’s going to be a little story timey. You with me? You down to chat for a minute? I want to talk about something that I don’t think we talk about often enough, and that is the deeply entrenched desire to quit your show. It happens to roughly every podcaster at least once. Honestly, I would say it’s entire possible that it happens more frequently for you. It’s understandable. And I want to talk about this not from a place of, and here’s why I never would, and here’s why I didn’t. I want to talk more just about what I was processing and going through and kind of doing as I was making these decisions. And spoiler alert, I didn’t stop podcasting.

But that doesn’t mean that stopping isn’t sometimes the exact right answer.

And so I want to, before we dive into this conversation, because I don’t want this conversation at all to be a love letter to podcasting, and how absolutely everybody should podcast because I don’t think that’s true. We have an entire episode of this show called Not Everyone Should Have a Podcast. And so I want this conversation instead to be about what I was going through, and sort of a look behind the scenes. Next week, we are going to follow this up with something that is a bit more pull the ripcord. It’s a bit more break in case of emergency. And we’re going to talk about some ways to know it is time to quit your show because there is a podcast I did quit, and I’ll tell that story next week. All right?

So first, let’s talk about this show. If you go back with me, climb into my way back machine, we would land at the beginning of our story in about April of 2019. April of 2019, we were officially about four months into the agency having been opened, the team was starting to grow. At the time, honestly, I think it was still just Cali and I, but I may … I think I hired Laura, our first editor that wasn’t me, who’s still on the team and edits the show. I think Laura started right after I got back, or not long after I got back.

But I was still doing all of the editing for our clients, whose shows we ran as part of their packages, but also my show. I was at the time, editing, oh, I don’t know, 20 to 35 hours of audio a month, which is a full-time job. It was nuts. I was so, so tired. So this sort of mile marker was interesting because I had been prepping and getting ahead on not only client work, but this show, my show, which by the way, in case you’re brand new to these parts, or maybe you just don’t remember, this is pre rebrand, so the show was still called Hit the Mic. The whole team was Cali and I. The agency was still in its infancy. I was still trying to The Stacey Harris and Uncommonly More as two separate brands. Hit the Mic Backstage still existed and was running underneath my The Stacey Harris brand.

But we still also had agency clients, and the agency was growing really rapidly, which was great, except I was dead ass tired. So April 2019 rolls around and my coach and mastermind were going to be in Tulum. My coach had put together a retreat for us in Tulum, Mexico. It was hands down one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. It was a fantastic week. I love Tulum. I love those women. We just had a really, really great time. And I came back home after that, rested in a lot of ways, and still deeply, deeply tired, not because I hadn’t rested and I wasn’t restored, but mostly because I had managed to run myself to such a degree of exhaustion that five days on a beach wasn’t going to solve the problem, mostly because I came back to the same chaos I was trying to recover from. I hadn’t solved the underlying problem. More on that later.

So I come back, and I’ve got a couple of weeks’ episodes already ready to go because I had, in all of my stress and anxiety, prepped them before I went on the trip. So we get back and the first few episodes come out. I’m doing client work. I’m doing sales calls. I’m doing day to day internal work, checking my boxes. And then it’s time to record again. It was time to sit down and record new episodes. And I’ve never, ever felt less like doing the show than I did that day, that week. I had zero to say, which is rare. It doesn’t happen to me a lot. But I didn’t feel like I had anything to say.

And worse, I didn’t feel like anyone listened.

And quite frankly, I wasn’t totally sure anyone would miss the show if it went awayAnd I don’t say that in a sort of nobody likes me, everybody hates, guess I’ll go eat worms kind of way, I mean it in a, I was so detached by the tasks and to do lists and the overwhelm that came with them that I was completely disconnected from the part that I really love, which is my relationship with you, my conversations with you, the client work and client relationships and partnerships that stem from somebody listening to the show and then saying, “Yes. This is what I want. Let’s work together.” And then brought you on board with my team, and we work together, and it’s fabulous.

But I was so disconnected from that because I was so stuck in the process and the to do of it all. And so I decided I was going to take a full month off from the show. And in the course of that four weeks, I would decide when and if the show continued. And what I didn’t realize at the time is I mostly ended up looking at if and how. So what would have to change for the show to be viable for me to keep doing? And so I decided I was going to take these four weeks off. So I decided to take these four weeks off, and I am immediately hit with just an overwhelming flood of panic, partnered with a sense of just deep and incredible failure because I had been podcasting for a long time. This wasn’t six months into my show. This was 18 months into my show. This was five years into my show. We were right about 400 episodes probably. Yeah, we had to have been, based on where we are now, we had to have been in the mid fours, somewhere between 430 and 450.

So I had been, because there was no we at the time, me and the mouse in my pocket friend, I had been doing this a long time, and I had been doing it alone. And we talk a lot about DIYing the show, or a show. And it’s doable, but it’s not totally sustainable because here’s the deal, is when your show works, you have less time to commit to your show. And yet, your show will continue to take up a ton of time if you don’t start handing off parts of it. And I was basically ass deep in the consequences of five years of running this show alone, completely un-helped. So I decided to take the break. I’m navigating this sense of failure and this, well, I’ve done it this long. Why don’t I just keep doing it? Kind of mentality, which not a healthy place to be.

And I decide I have to get out of the deep well that is my feelings about the show. I’ve got to find some data. I need, and this may be the only time I ever say this sentence ever in my life, but I need some math. I need some numbers. I need to reconnect with what is actually happening. I have to find reality. And this sort of spoiler alert, this is really the beginning of me being really, really intentional about making sure that data was involved in every part of the process. We talked about this last week on the podcast when I was breaking down the dashboards and what’s included in them. This reality, having those numbers for the results of the first 30 days of podcast episodes right there on my dashboard allows me to stay in fact about what’s happening with my show, because when I sit here alone in my office, staring at my computer and talking to a microphone, and just watching sound waves happen, and listening to myself in my ears, it’s really easy to feel alone in this.

And this why I have things that I do to make it easier. We’ve talked about this on the show. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I think about particular clients, especially if it’s been a conversation I’m having. As I prepped for this episode, which felt harder for me because I don’t generally do these kind of episodes, where I’m just sort of telling you how poorly I’ve done in the past, or how rough things can be sometimes, when I’m being vulnerable, those hold your hair episodes, it takes more. And so for me today, it was sitting down and thinking about what it would be like to sit with you and some of the other listeners who listen to this show, around the fire pit in my backyard, or on a patio having a cocktail, whatever the thing is. Right?

And so I have to put myself in this space, but that takes effort. And sometimes it’s not necessary, and sometimes I sit down here and I knock out four episodes, and it’s easy, breezy, beautiful. And sometimes it’s hard. Right? Well, on days that it’s hard, it’s nice for me to be able to see data and go, “Okay. People are listening,” and not just people are listening, but people are engaging, and people are sharing, and reviewing, and buying and doing all of the things that we hope you do when you listen to the show. So I sat down and I started getting into the data. I have in my email and in our Google drive, I have two folders, both of which are called Love. One is obviously for emails and the other is for screenshots.

And any time anyone says something about working with us, or recommends us, or recommends me, or shouts me out on something, I tend to take a screenshot, or save the email, and I revisit it. And several of the emails that I have in this folder are, I love this episode. Can we talk next week? And they’re people who I work with now. I love what you said about such and such. I shared it with a friend. And then that friend is now somebody I work with. I have a lot of these instances. And so I reconnected with that. I sat down and I was like, “Okay, is this actually working objectively?” This is a math problem. Look at the numbers. Is it working? And when I looked at where my clients came from, or what impacted them during their decision making process, I came back again and again to the show.

Even if it was a referral, which a lot of our clients are referrals, even if it was a referral, they used the podcast as part of their decision maker. They used the podcast to sit down and get to know me, and really how Uncommonly More thinks about and approaches podcasting and marketing and strategy. And so it was working, objectively, it was working. Okay, so it’s working, this process is getting us the result we want. That part of it is working. So if this is working, what about it makes it feel like it’s not working? What is happening that is broken? And so I had to look at the process. And we’ve talked about this on the podcast, and we’re probably never going to stop talking about it because it’s an important thing, but I was so in the weeds of a process because when I sat down and I mapped out what it took for this show to get done, from idea to your earbuds, everything on that list was me.

Every single thing on that list was me. And then you take a step back and you’re like, “Well, no wonder I’m overwhelmed. This is a lot of work, and the end result is that this thing is working.” So this thing that is getting me more clients has to become more manageable because it works, so there’s no reason for me to stop doing it unless I was just deeply unhappy and hated podcasting itself, which again, I checked in on, and isn’t true and wasn’t true. I was just tired, and so I had to get clear about what couldn’t be me anymore. And I started by looking at what had to be me. This part would be weird if it was suddenly someone else. But editing didn’t have to be me. Show notes didn’t have to be me. Scheduling everything didn’t have to be me. Planning didn’t have to be me alone. I could sit down with somebody.

And so I started looking at how I could get help. We hired our first editor in July of 2019. She took over editing our client shows. She took over editing this show. I added more support and team around show notes and scheduling. I started getting Cali support in planning, doing some of the stuff we do with our clients together for this show. And so this right here is really the only part I do alone anymore. I sit here and we talk. And this feels less alone now because for one, I have the energetic capacity to do the mental gymnastics of imagining you sitting here talking to me. But also, I have the capacity to let in the data. I have the platform to access the data. I have the space to talk about things I’m really excited about, try things, and play with things. And sometimes, it means episodes like this one get recorded much more closely to the release date than I would like, certainly, probably more than my team would like. Just remember, I love you guys.

But it happens, but I have the space and the energy to do that, to get creative and to think about what will be most valuable for you here. And that came only out of very nearly quitting my show. And so when I think about what got me back, it was clarity and actionable next steps. And honestly, if I hadn’t almost quit the show and gotten that clarity and gotten the movement and the next steps, if I hadn’t have done those pieces, things like the dashboard we talked about last week wouldn’t exist because I did not have the capacity to think about that. I just didn’t. I didn’t have the capacity to create that.

And so if you’re resisting getting help with your show, if you’re saying, “I need to wait until I have more time, or more money, or more episodes, or more experience,” or whatever it is that you are giving yourself as a reason to wait, I want to encourage you to reassess. I want to encourage you to start looking. And this question was big for me. What became possible with time not spent on this? And looking at the data and seeing. How many hours am I spending on each episode of this show? What happens if I free up two hours an episode, I put it somewhere else? And in some ways, maybe I put it in a nap.

Maybe I put it wherever it needs to go. But it meant I got to show up for clients, and I got to show up for sales calls. And I got to show up for consults work, and I got to show up for the show, and for the other ways I market, and for my friends and my family and myself in a whole other way because that’s what allowing myself to be supported bought me when it came to something as simple as this show, one sliver of my overall business.

All right, that’s the show. If you resonated with this, and you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Yep. Yeah, okay. It’s time,” let’s talk. We do have some spots open to support podcasters right now. Our team is expanding, so our availability is expanding, which is really exciting. So if you want to head over to, that is the spot to go to apply and book your call, so that you and I can have a conversation and find out if this is a good fit for you, if you’re ready for this, if your show is ready for this, and get you started, and get you some help too because it changed my podcast. It changed my business, changed my sanity level. It did a lot of good things. All right? Thank you for listening. Thank you for hanging out with me. I will see you next week, where I will tell another story, where I do actually quit the podcast. That’s a good one. I’ll see you next week.

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