“I want my audience to hear the stories of relatable people.” with Jason Hartman & Sam Laliberte

I want my audience to hear the stories of relatable people who’ve created a lifestyle of freedom for themselves, on their own terms. I uncover each guest’s version of the freedom lifestyle, how they achieved it and the impact its had on their life. As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you […]

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I want my audience to hear the stories of relatable people who’ve created a lifestyle of freedom for themselves, on their own terms. I uncover each guest’s version of the freedom lifestyle, how they achieved it and the impact its had on their life.

As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a very successful podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Laliberte

Sam Laliberte is the Creator of Launch a Podcast on a Budget — an online course that helps aspiring podcasters launch their show efficiently, cost-effectively and with confidence. Sam is also the Host and Producer of the Freedom Lifestyle Podcast.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?

Mypodcasting journey started in the fall of 2017 when I was undergoing a massive career and lifestyle transition. Previously I had been working for a software startup in Toronto where I was required to spend 40+ hours a week in an office with no opportunity to work from home. At the same time, I was in a long-distance relationship, struggling to visit my partner regularly in San Francisco and feeling frustrated by the lack of flexibility in my life. I was dead set on making a change and became fascinated by the stories of Digital Nomads and Remote Workers who discovered how to live and work from wherever they desired. I created the Freedom Lifestyle podcast to investigate these stories and uncover their secrets to achieving such freedom. I knew I wasn’t alone in wanting it too!

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?

One of the most amazing and unexpected opportunities that came my way since launching my podcast, was an invite to travel and work with The Girls Trip. They’re a new travel agency that leads group trips for women to bucket-list destinations like Bali, Morocco, and Tulum. We originally connected during the launch of their business as they sponsored a few of my podcast episodes to gain awareness for their new brand. Throughout this process, I built a great relationship with the Co-Founders who got a taste for my personality and hosting skills by working with me and listening to my show. They offered me a paid opportunity to join four of their 2019 trips as the “Manager of Vibes” for their guests. It was incredible!

Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?

The biggest mistakes I made were definitely on the technical side! There was one memory in particular where I conducted an entire interview with my mic on the wrong setting. I only realized after the fact when I went to edit and was so embarrassed to reach back out to the guest to ask for another hour of their time. Luckily she was very understanding. I’m now extremely careful when I set up my equipment before an interview. Recently I was interviewed by another podcast host who ended up having the same issue with me! I was able to bring that same empathy and patience to him when he asked for an interview re-do. It can happen so easily!

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

I’ve been podcasting for 2.5 years and I have ~50 episodes live and available for listening.

What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?

I want my audience to hear the stories of relatable people who’ve created a lifestyle of freedom for themselves, on their own terms. I uncover each guest’s version of the freedom lifestyle, how they achieved it and the impact its had on their life.

In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?

The reason my audience comes back for each episode and can binge through a bunch over a weekend is that each story is unique. Not everyone has the same definition of “freedom lifestyle” and it showcases all the different ways you can achieve flexibility and freedom for yourself. It’s not the same definition of success so each journey and outcome is different from the previous guest.

I think I’ve been successful as a host because I’ve selfishly wanted to uncover these stories for myself. From the very beginning, my motivation for launching my podcast was to pursue the type of lifestyle that my guests had achieved. Like my audience, I wasn’t there yet. It allowed me to be super curious and practical with the types of questions I asked.

Doing something on a consistent basis is not easy. Podcasting every work-day, or even every week can be monotonous. What would you recommend to others about how to maintain discipline and consistency? What would you recommend to others about how to avoid burnout?

I encourage aspiring podcasters to be realistic about what they can commit to. There’s no sense in telling yourself and the audience that you’ll be providing a weekly episode cadence if you don’t have the capacity and resources to do so. It’s more important for you to be reliable with your release schedule (new episodes every Thursday, first Sunday of the month, or 3x / week), than the number of episodes you produce. Your audience needs to fit you into their schedule and know when they can expect the next episode.

What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?

I listen to other podcasts! Of course, I have my favorite shows in which I’ll catch every episode, but I make an effort weekly to explore new podcasts and listen to a diverse range of shows and hosts. This gives me ideas for now only the types of questions I can ask, but also new ways to format my episodes and engage my audience, as well as sound transitions and effects that I can try in my own editing process.

Ok fantastic. Let’s now shift to the main questions of our discussion. Is there someone in the podcasting world who you think is a great model for how to run a really fantastic podcast?

I’m a fan of the Girlboss podcast hosted by Sophia Amoruso. All of her guests are quality interviewees and know how to answer questions and tell great stories. Sophia does a great job of curating diverse guests, using fun sound effects to break up segments and I love that she brings us behind the scenes of her life and business at the start of each episode.

What are the ingredients that make that podcast so successful? If you could break that down into a blueprint, what would that blueprint look like?

One section of my course, Launch a Podcast on a Budget, talks about the Podcast Skeleton that the majority of podcasts follow. By outlining this ahead of time, it can really cut down your editing time as well as shape how you prep for each episode.

The format I recommend is as follows:

  1. Preview clip (take a mic drop moment from your interview that hooks the listener in)
  2. Podcast jingle (the opening music and show description that’s the same for each episode)
  3. Intro to episode (what can they expect and why they’ll enjoy it)
  4. Sponsored ads / updates (great place for ad partners or personal updates)
  5. Interview / episode (bulk of the content)
  6. Summary (highlight key points)
  7. Call to action (ask listeners to complete an action like rate and review the show or sign up for something online)

You are a very successful podcaster yourself. Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)

  1. Don’t scrutinize your own voice. Almost every podcaster I’ve connected with had the same challenge with getting comfortable hearing their own voice when they first started out. Know that this is very common and normal. Also, know that it will get better as you continue with your podcasting journey. I’m actually at the point now where I enjoy listening to my own episodes versus when I first started and experienced a number of cringy feelings!
  2. Practice interviewing a friend before your first real guest. It’s important to conduct a mock interview using all of your equipment so that you’re comfortable with the tech beforehand. There will investibably be some nervousness during your first real interview and you don’t want to add to that tension by having unexpected technology hiccups. I recorded a 5-minute conversation with a friend and went through the process of transferring the audio file to my editing software and practiced making minor edits with it, to ensure the process was smooth.
  3. Outsource production/editing if you hate it. DIY podcast production can be very time consuming, especially when you’re first starting out. You’ll quickly realize what your feelings are towards the learning curve (up for the challenge versus becoming resentful). There’s no need to quit podcasting because you don’t enjoy the production aspect. Marketplaces like Quill and Fiverr make it super easy and affordable to outsource to podcast production to the experts.
  4. Have a pre-launch marketing strategy. The first time people hear about your podcast should not be the day it launches. Think about how you can build anticipation and an initial sign up list. I created a video trailer using fun .gifs and my own voice over to announce what my podcast show was going to be about and why I was launching it. The end of the video encouraged viewers to sign up for my email list on a simple website landing page that had a countdown timer to when the first episode would be launched. This tactic helped me generate my first few hundred email subscribers who I could market to the day my first episode dropped.
  5. Make a minimum commitment to yourself. Set a goal that you’ll commit to achieving before considering giving up on your show. This could be a length of time or a number of episodes but it’s important you give yourself a fair effort to make your show a success and confirm whether podcasting is a fit for you. It’s easy to get discouraged early on if the technical aspects are frustrating or if you’re not seeing the results you hoped for in terms of episode downloads. I committed to producing five episodes as part of season one of my podcast which was what felt good for me at the time.

Can you share some insight from your experience about the best ways to: 1) book great guests; 2) increase listeners; 3) produce it in a professional way; 4) encourage engagement; and 5) the best way to monetize it? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)

  1. For booking guests, I encourage you to look at Amazon’s “Coming Soon” section for books as these authors are typically expert thought leaders who will be more likely to say yes to an interview at this time. They’re more motivated to take on publicity opportunities during the launch of their book versus when they’re busy creating it. It’s a great time to secure high profile guests that are well known within your industry.
  2. For increasing listeners, my pro tip is to utilize the Spotify and Instagram Stories integration. Most podcasters don’t have the 10,000 follower minimum required to have a “swipe up” link in their Instagram stories but with this integration, you don’t need it! Simply share the podcast episode directly from Spotify to Instagram Stories to make a clickable link directly to that episode.
  3. To produce your show in a professional way, the most important aspect is high-quality audio. Avoid distracting noises by always recording in a quiet, soundproof room. If you’re interviewing guests remotely, encourage them to do the same as well as using headphones with a built-in mic.
  4. There are many ways that you can monetize your podcast, yet most people just think of pitching brands for sponsored ads. While this technique is effective, it requires a lot more effort to build relationships with advertisers and get enough traction (listeners) to your show. Other ways to monetize would be to utilize a platform like Patreon where you could offer a paid membership for your podcasting community and create gated content that’s exclusively for them. Another way to leverage your community for support and monetization is via an app called Tipeee.

For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?

For those new to audio production who intend to produce their episodes themselves, I encourage you to find a microphone with the following characteristics:

  • USB microphone versus XLR. This will allow you to plug your microphone into your laptop and directly record it into your editing software. This keeps things simple and avoids having to purchase and learn how to use additional equipment.
  • Multiple polar patterns. If you’re looking to conduct interview-style podcasts that are in-person, you’ll want a microphone that has bi-directional recording capabilities. Unlike a microphone that only offers Cardioid (records only what’s directly in front of it), a bi-directional microphone will record from both ends of the mic, allowing you to have a comfortable setup for in-person interviews.
  • Zero delay monitoring. Find a microphone that allows you to plug headphones into it to monitor (hear) what’s being recorded in real-time. This will allow you to adjust your volume and gain (sensitivity) controls at the start of your interview and help avoid unnecessary editing time in post-production. You’ll also be able to catch distracting noises like a background fan, which you might not have noticed ahead of time.

Ok. We are almost done. 🙂 Because of your position and work, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m on a mission to help people take the lifestyle they know they deserve by empowering the movement towards flexibility in both lives and in work.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can check out my course Launch of Podcast on a Budget, listen to my podcast and/or follow me on Instagram!

Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.

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