Why I Started a Podcast When I Already Have a Big Audience on YouTube
In this episode of Work Less, Earn More, Gillian shares with you some of the reasons she started a podcast. The truth is that businesses that are in different stages of growth need to focus on different strategies. Just because my business is in a place where starting a podcast is a good choice, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing for your business.
This is a transcript of Work Less, Earn More, Episode 11. Listen to the episode here.
There's a pretty good chance that you know that this podcast isn't exactly my main gig. If you've seen me around the internet at all or maybe if you found me somewhere else before you stumbled across this podcast, then you probably are aware that I have a pretty substantial following on YouTube. At the time that I'm recording on this, we're just a bit under 350,000 subscribers and every video that I put out gets thousands of views.
So if you've seen that, if you're aware of that, then you might be wondering why I possibly wanted to start a podcast, starting over from scratch essentially and at first with nobody listening when I already have so much reach on YouTube. If you've put any thought into this, you might have wondered if maybe my YouTube audience isn't that engaged or if there's something wrong with my channel that's making me concerned about it. Or if maybe YouTube viewers are viewers only and they're not actually buyers so I'm trying to find buyers.
Or if maybe I'm just making a poor, strategic decision and I'm spreading myself too thin when I should be just focusing more on what is already working. Just put more time, more effort into my YouTube channel. Now maybe you haven't put that much thought into it. And if not, I wouldn't blame you at all. But these are certainly things that I considered as I was thinking about whether or not I should start a podcast.
I wondered if this was a good strategic decision. And even though I wanted to start a podcast, I wondered if I should really just focus on what was already working. Well, obviously I ultimately decided to start the podcast and decided it was a good, strategic decision. And so today I wanted to share some of my reasons for doing this and reasons why I believe this was a good strategic decision for my business. And specifically, I wanted to share this with you so that you can understand how to make good, strategic decisions at different phases of growth in your business.
Because the truth is that businesses that are different stages of growth need to focus on different strategies and will get the biggest and best results from different strategies. And just because starting a podcast was right for my business at this point in time doesn't necessarily mean that it would be a good move for your business. And that goes for anything else that you see other businesses doing.
First of all, just because you see them doing something doesn't necessarily mean that it was a good decision. But even if you assume that it was, that doesn't necessarily mean it would be a good decision for you as well. So I'm going to share with you, first of all, the reasons why I believe this was a good decision for my business at this point. And then how you can learn from that and apply it to your business to be able to make more strategic decisions right now.
All right, so the very first reason why I decided to start a podcast wasn't so much as a strategic decision as it was a personal choice just that I wanted to try something new. I have focused a lot of time and energy into YouTube over the past few years and I really wanted to spice things up. Step out of my comfort zone and try something new. But it goes a little bit further than that. This wasn't just a personal decision. It wasn't just a hobby or something that sounded interesting to me. It actually was somewhat strategic to try something new.
Most people agree that it is smart to invest the majority of your assets, be that time or money, into really sound, stable investments. Things that you are confident will pay you back. Things that are already working or are proven to work. But if you spend a little bit of your resources, your time or your money in things that are more speculative, you open up new opportunities because you might find out that one of these unknowns actually produces great results.
Financially, this could look like speculating on a stock that doesn't yet have a proven track record. But with your time, it can look like investing some of your time into projects that are new to you and you don't know what kind of results they'll produce. One of the most classic examples of this in business is Google, which famously encourages their employees to spend 20% of their time on speculative projects. And this purportedly has created some of Google's best products and features, including Google ad words and Gmail. Some of the things that today, we consider to be staple features of Google.
And it all started with Google simply encouraging their employees to play. And so that's something I try to regularly practice in my business devoting a certain amount of time, about 20% which is about one day a week if you're working five days a week, into new ventures. This could be maybe writing a book that I'm just interested in writing. Or starting a new YouTube channel or starting a new podcast. Anything that isn't yet proven to work but I'm interested in pursuing.
The reason that I think this is so important is because you don't know what opportunities you might be missing if you only focus your resources on what works. You don't know what you're missing out on. Of course, you can't try everything, but you can increase the odds that you find more things that work. And the odds that you possibly find something that works even better than what you're currently doing.
I'm currently reading the book, Atomic Habits, by James Clear. And he talked about this in that book as well. He talks about the explore/exploit paradox, which basically means that you can spend some of your time exploring or trying new things. And then some of your time exploiting or focusing on those activities that are already producing good results. And he says that if you are getting poor results (if right now maybe you don't know what you want to do or you don't know what would work… maybe nothing is working very well for you…) then you want to prioritize the explore options.
So a great example of this is if you want to go to college but you're not exactly sure what your major is. You might decide to go after a liberal arts degree which allows you to try out a lot of different subjects and essentially to dabble so that you can maybe something that you're really interested in. Now I'm not going to comment on whether or not this particular example would be a good decision or not, but it is still a great example of a way in which people prioritize exploring when they're unsure what they want or they're unsure what would work.
Now on the other hand, James says that if you are getting great results, then you want to prioritize exploiting. So if you've found something that works, then you want to devote the majority of your time to really eeking out the results from that activity and only spend a small amount of your time exploring. But it's okay to alternately lean more into exploring or more into exploiting depending on where you're at.
Going back to what we're really talking about here which is why starting a podcast was a strategic decision for my business. Obviously, my YouTube channel is working very well for my business. And so over the past few years, I've really focused on exploiting that opportunity. And this has worked really well for me. But I noticed that while it was good that I was prioritizing this thing that really worked for my business, I wasn't spending hardly any time exploring. And that just meant that I was potentially missing out on other opportunities. Now I still want to prioritize the YouTube channel because that still is the thing that's working the very best for me. But I just wanted to incorporate more explore type activities. That's the first reason why I decided to start a podcast at this point.
Now the second reason why I decided to start a podcast is completely different. And that is that I've noticed that different mediums give different impressions. Let me explain what I mean. Think about what you think of an author when you read a book. Doesn't really matter what the book is as long as it's a normal, well written book. You read the book and you get a certain impression of the author. Maybe you think a lot about the author or maybe you think very little. But you have this impression that they are an expert and that they are an authority.
And I would say that this even happens if you read a fiction book, you have this impression of the author being an expert writer, a professional writer, a professional crafts person who is getting to do creative work for a living. You have this romantic notion of them.
And then if you read a nonfiction book, you definitely are more likely to see them as an expert in their field. Someone who has authority. Someone who is well respected. That's just one example. That's what happens when you read a book. But on the other hand, what's your impression of someone if instead of meeting them as the author of a book, you meet them as a character in a reality TV show?
Think back to some reality TV show you've seen and some of the characters in those shows. What was your impression of them? Did you see them as experts? Did you see them as authorities? Probably not. Probably depending on what the reality show was about and how that character was positioned, you saw them as something of a celebrity. Maybe you thought they were an interesting person. You probably thought that they had a career as an actor and that they were getting paid a fair amount of money to be an actor and to be fake.
Now, of course, that doesn't go for every reality TV show. It depends on what the topic of the show is. And how well the show has done. And how the characters are acting. But regardless, I think that you would agree that you get a very different impression of someone if you meet them as the star of a reality TV show versus if you meet them as the author of a book.
Now these are two extreme examples, but I've just noticed that depending on how you meet someone, you get a very different impression of them. So if you meet someone by seeing them on YouTube, maybe you think that they are popular. Maybe you think they're good at social media. You probably think that a lot of people are interested in what they have to say. And that they are friendly and fun.
But you might not think that they are an authority or an expert or necessarily highly respected. On the other hand, if you meet someone on a podcast, what is your first impression of them? Well, you get a very different impression because you're only hearing them. You're not seeing them. You're hearing them in a very intimate way. Someone is speaking to you probably in earbuds or in headphones and speaking directly into your mind. And you just develop a very different relationship with the podcast host.
And I noticed that when I listen to podcasts, my impression of podcasts hosts is that they are experts. That they are authorities. That they know what they're talking about. And I think that part of this is because you don't see the numbers so you don't see how big a person's audience is or how many people have liked that post or have watched that particular video. And so you have a pure impression of simply the information. You're not being influenced by what other people think. And that's really nice.
And then, aside from that, because you're not seeing them talk, you're not quite seeing them as human in the same way that you perceive people if you see them on video. And you don't see their normal, human flaws. You just see them as this voice that is speaking to you from afar. And that just gives a really different impression.
And because I noticed that the impression that I tend to have of podcast hosts tends to be so positive, and that I tend to respect them so much, I thought that this is a good reason why I would be interested in starting a podcast: so that I could develop that type of relationship with some of my audience. Rather than just always coming across is the relatable, fun friend on YouTube, I really wanted to come across as more of an authority.
The third of the four reasons why I decided to start a podcast is because while YouTube is great at generating exposure, building an audience, growing your email list, and even generating sales, it's not necessarily good for attracting your target customers. It can be, but it's not necessarily good at that. And that's because there are certain types of people who watch YouTube and certain types of people who don't.
There are certain types of videos that perform well on YouTube and other types of videos that don't. And when people watch videos on YouTube, they get a certain impression of the host of the video as I just was talking about. And all of these things might play in your favor for attracting your target customers or they might not. And that all depends on who you're trying to attract.
Because if you're trying to attract customers who happen to be the people who watch videos on YouTube and who like to watch the types of videos really position your product well. And if having you be that relatable, fun friend works to effectively position your product and sell your product, then YouTube videos can be phenomenal.
But on the other hand, if you're trying to target an audience that isn't the person who generally watches YouTube videos, or if the types of videos that perform well on YouTube aren't really the types of videos that sell your product most effectively, then YouTube might not be the best at attracting your target customers.
Now of course, that doesn't at all mean that getting the exposure you can get on YouTube or growing your email list will do any harm to your business. I would say that those are all good things for pretty much every business. And they've absolutely been fantastic for my business. But at this phase in my business growth- and I'll get into this part a little bit more later- at this phase in my business growth, I realized that I need to start prioritizing- really connecting- with my target customers, not just working on growing or scaling my business or my exposure.
So YouTube has done a lot of good things. But just because of where my business is at right now, I've decided that I need to shift my focus a little bit. Like I said, I'll get into that more in just a couple minutes. But before I do that, I want to share with you the fourth reason and the final reason why I decided that starting a podcast would be best for me.
And that was just because my business has evolved. My business isn't where it was almost three years ago when I decided to start my YouTube channel and now my business has different needs. The best way that I can explain this to you is to imagine a child who is growing. When they are a small child, say one year old, the skill that they really need to prioritize. The skill they need to work on is just walking. Those first basic skills. Walking. Starting to talk. But then by the age of two, they are probably confidently walking so they don't need to work on that anymore. Instead, they need to start working on some slightly more advanced skills such as counting.
Then by the age of five, they don't need to keep practicing counting. They're good at that. So they need to move on to doing addition and subtracting. And by the age of 15, they should be focusing on algebra. Now this is incredibly obvious to us. We would never think that a two year old should be trying to learn algebra or that a 15 year old should practice their counting every day.
Depending on what stage of growth a child is in, they need to work on different skills. And working on the wrong skills would almost certainly be a waste of time. It would be a waste of time for a 15 year old to practice counting. Or a waste of time for a two year old to try to learn algebra.
But what so many people miss is that growing a business is a lot like a developing child. When you first start your business, there are certain things that you need to work on. You need to get the basics taken care of to create a foundation for your business. But then later on, there are more advanced strategies and tactics that you can employ that will have a much bigger impact on your business and really help your business to grow and to succeed and continuing to work on the basics once you're at that point with your business will be a waste of your time.
So this will make the most sense if I talk you through the four main phases of business growth. Now of course, there are many different ways that you could cut or dissect this. You can break business growth up into these four stages that I'm going to share with you right now. You could also break into 20 phases or 100 phases if you really wanted to get even more specific. Or you could break it down into just two phases.
But these are the four main stages that I see most businesses, especially online businesses go through. The first phase is obviously when you're just starting your business out. And this is the phase when it's important that you really work on your business's message. You need to just get clear on who you are, what you do, how you help. And this is also the phase of your business when you're going to create your product or your offers.
In this phase of business, you're just figuring out what you do and you're not even worried about telling anyone about it yet. You just need to have clarity so that you'll be able to later effectively communicate to people the value of your business.
Then, moving on to the second phase of growing your business. This is where you need to start working on getting some exposure. Because you've created your product already (or your product offer). And now you need to start sharing it with people. Because in order for your business to start growing, you're going to need to start making sales. And in order to make sales, you need to have to explore. Because nobody can buy your product if they don't know it exists. That was a big breakthrough for me.
For a long time, I tried to grow my business. I had some great products to sell. And nobody was buying them. And I didn't know why. And I finally realized it was because nobody even knew they existed. So in this second phase of your business, you need to focus on getting the word out.
Then in the third phase of your business, you really need to focus on sales. This is where you're going to actually talk to the people who have now heard about your product. And explained to them why they need it. How it will help them. And convince them to buy it. In this phase, you're going to work on optimizing your sales process. You might create systems to sell. You might hire people to help you sell. But you need to start converting that exposure into sales.
And then finally, in the fourth phase of growing a business, you will scale your business. This can include a lot of different things, but essentially you're taking these simple systems that you've built. You're taking that product and that exposure and this sales system. And you are scaling it up so that you can reach even more people and make even more sales and sell even more products.
In order to do this, you'll do things like hire additional team members. Create new systems to accomplish these things better. And also, automate so that you can serve more people without having to work exponentially more.
Okay, so let me just check in now. Is this making sense? Do you understand these four phases of growing a business and what activities you need to prioritize in each of them? If so, my question for you at this point is which of these phases of business are you in right now?
You can just answer that question for yourself. But if you want to share what phase of business you're in, I would love to hear from you. We've recently added a feature to my website, gillianperkins.com. If you go to gillianperkins.com/podcast, or if you click on the podcast button in the menu, then there is a button that you can push that says get in touch. And it will just take you to a simple contact form that you can use to respond to the show. Because I really want this to be as interactive of an experience for you as possible.
And so, in future episodes, I'm definitely going to be asking you some questions and asking for your feedback. Also asking what you want to hear in future episodes. And if you have questions about what you hear on the podcast, you can go ahead and use that same form to ask your questions so that I can answer them in future episodes.
Anyway, to get back to my point. There are four main phases of business. Right now, if you're building a business, you are in one of these phases. And I also want to let you know that every business will initially go through these phases. They may not do them exactly in this order. This is the most logical order to do them in. But sometimes businesses are built through strange processes. But every business will initially go through these phases in order to become a real business that is making money. But it is always good to go back and work on improving any of these aspects of your business, especially if it's an aspect that's weak.
So in order to start making sales, you have to have a product. So that means that you went through that first phase of working on clarifying your message. But later on, even after you have started working on scaling your business, you could still go back and work on improving your message even further. Or developing new and better products so that your business has an even stronger foundation to be building on.
And of course, you could go back and work on generating more exposure or new systems for getting exposure. Or you could work on improving your sales process. And then we can always be working on scaling our businesses. I just want to be sure that you are clear on how this all works. It's not something you do one time and then you're done. Building a business is an ongoing process.
When I started my YouTube channel, I was in between phase one and phase two. I had been working on my business's message and on developing products. I would say that I still needed to spend more time on that. That I still had some more work there to do. But I had started to move into the phase of getting exposure for my business. Because I needed to test out the message that I had created- the message that I wanted to share with the world- and the products that I had to offer to see if they were viable.
Now starting my YouTube channel was incredible for both of these aspects of my business that I needed to work on. Because not only did it, in fact, get me that exposure that I needed so that people found out about my business- found out about my products and I started making money- but it also really helped me to refine my message and to figure out what people were interested in. Simply the process of making videos on a weekly basis and sharing my message with the world helped me to figure out what I was saying.
And over these past few years, as my business and my YouTube channel has grown, YouTube has continued to be an incredibly valuable asset. It's helped me continue to refine my message. It has certainly helped us to grow our exposure. And it's been a good sales tool as well. It's also contributed to scaling my business, at least in terms of scaling our exposure and being able to reach a larger audience.
However, at this point, my business is solidly in that fourth phase of growth, where we are just focusing on scaling. Now as I mentioned before, we still can always go back and work on those other aspects of the business. But the one that we have most effectively mastered, the one that we have the least need to focus on or continue to work on at this point, is definitely exposure. Because YouTube has given my business a whole lot of that.
And so because of that, I've realized that at this point I need to stop focusing quite as much of our resources and effort on exposure and visibility. And instead, work on improving those other aspects of the business. And so to work on improving our products. Making them even bigger and better and helping our customers to get the most incredible results that we possibly can. And then working improving our sales systems. And that is really the aspect where my company is the weakest at this point. Simply sales.
It's not something that comes very natural to me on a personal level. And it's probably the aspect of my business that I have spent the least effort on at this point. And so, of course, this is not to say that we are abandoning YouTube. Not by any means. YouTube is still such an incredible asset for my business. And we are still continuing to, I would say, even prioritize it. We just realized that we no longer need to devote 100% of our resources there. Now we need to devote, somewhere between 50% and 80% of our resources there. And invest a significant percentage into improving our sales systems and scaling our team.
As you're thinking about what phase your business is in right now, where are you at in the process of growing your business? Have you already covered these four bases? If so, which one are you the weakest in? Or if you haven't already gone through all four phases, then which one do you need to focus on next? What's the next step for your business? Figuring this out will really help you to know what strategies you need to work on in order to take your business to the next level.
If you would appreciate some help figuring this out, then I invite you to join us inside Startup Society and work with us there. One of the key features of Startup Society is our startup success quiz. That will help you figure out exactly which phase of the business growth you are in right now so that you know what strategies to focus on.
After you take the quiz, not only do you find out where you're at in your business growth cycle, but it will also tell you specifically what strategy you should focus on right now. And then, whatever strategy that is, we have a training that you can start working on right now that will guide you to execute that strategy. So it's not just going to tell you what you need to do, it will actually walk you step by step through doing that next step of growing your business.
If you're interested in learning more about Startup Society and how you can work with us inside the program, then you can just head to gillianperkins.com and then click on Join Startup Society up in the upper right hand corner. And, of course, I'll leave a link in the show notes as well where you can find out more information about Startup Society.
But if you are in one of these beginning stages of growing your business and you're just trying to create that solid foundation right now, start consistently making money each month, then Startup Society would be a great fit for you and your online business.
All right, well that brings us to the end of this episode. I hope that this was informative to you and really helped you understand the strategic process that went into me deciding to start a podcast at this phase in my business's growth. Why I'm not abandoning YouTube, but why I decided to at least give podcasting a try by adding it into my business's arsenal and seeing what kind of results this new opportunity creates for us.
Now if you enjoyed this week's episode, then you'll definitely want to tune in next week as well. Next week, I am talking to Ashley Gartland about Systems for Simplifying Your Business and Maximizing Results. Ashley Gartland is a systems whiz. She specializes in helping business owners simplify so that they can work less and earn more. Just like I do, but she takes a different approach where she is working with her clients one on one in a consultancy fashion.
And she really helps business owners create these systems for themselves. And I just talked with her a few days ago and interviewed her all about some of her systems that she guides her clients to create. And I know that you will find this discussion very informative because she really gets very practical about some simple systems you can set up that will make your business so much easier to run.
Now if you want to make sure that you don't miss that episode, then you need to subscribe to the podcast. You might already be subscribed, but if you're listening on my website or somewhere else, then you might not be. And in that case, you need to find this podcast, Work Less Earn More in your favorite podcast app such as Google podcasts or Apple podcasts or Stitcher. Look it up and then hit that subscribe button so that you will get automatic access to it because otherwise you might miss it.
All right, well that is all for today. But thank you so much for joining me. I'm your host, Gillian Perkins. And until next week, stay focused.