The Journey of The Mindful Kind Podcast
Have you ever wondered about the highs and lows (and everything in between!) of podcasting?
It's been over a year and a half since I launched The Mindful Kind and in that time, I've had the privilege of experiencing some incredible things, like reaching a global audience and receiving kind-hearted reviews, as well as a few challenges (including the very difficult first attempt of recording an episode and nearly giving up!).
Let’s rewind to August 2015, when I first discovered podcasts. I thought it was amazing that I could access so much knowledge, information and inspiration from people I really looked up to. I especially remember excitedly listening to Lisa Messenger’s interview on The Brave Exchange and Gretchen Rubin talking about happiness on The Happiness Project!
Within a few weeks, I'd decided I wanted to start my own podcast. It wasn’t something I’d been planning, nor was it even something I thought I would be particularly good at! I just knew I had so many things I wanted to share and I wanted to try and make a difference in my own way.
I started brainstorming all different ideas for my podcast and it was actually my boyfriend who suggested The Mindful Kind, (thanks Dec!). It just sounded perfect to me.
The Mindful Kind not only represents a community of people learning about mindfulness and exploring mindful living, but it also refers to kindness, which is a hugely important value to me and something which I think is cultivated when we practice mindfulness.
I outlined the first few episodes and it was all feeling really good!
Luckily, Dec had been in a band when he was younger and he let me use his microphone and recording software (both of which I’m still using now!). It took me a while to get the hang of it all, as I hadn’t spoken into a microphone before, I had no idea about the tech or the software and I wasn’t a very confident speaker!
It was a steep learning curve and so I also signed up for a podcasting course, called Radcasters, which taught me all about how to create the right sized image for iTunes, how to host my podcast on Libsyn, how to upload it all to iTunes and everything else I needed to know.
I began recording my very first episode and it went… horribly!
I found out how truly difficult it is to hold a conversation with yourself, especially when you’re not a very confident speaker and you’ve got a whole lot of other things on your mind, such as staying a certain distance from the microphone and re-recording any time there's extra noise (like neighbours talking, dogs barking and planes going overhead).
Six hours later, I was just about in tears and ready to throw in the towel. All those self-doubts, like “I can’t do this”, “no way can I release a new episode each week”, “I don’t like the sound of my voice”, “it’s too hard for me” etc were creeping in and it rattled my confidence even more.
I took a break for a day or two and realised that the answer was pretty simple, actually. I decided I’d write notes and use those to help me record the episodes, which worked really well because it kept the episodes straight to the point, with well-researched and accurate information.
I’d originally wanted to create 20-30 minute long episodes, but just a 10 minute episode is about 1600 words and I knew that doing more than that every week would be unsustainable long term!
I also started recording in my walk in wardrobe, which is actually where I still record now, because it minimizes outside noise and the clothes do a great job of absorbing sound to improve the audio quality. People always think it’s funny that the reality of recording The Mindful Kind podcast is I’m in a tiny little cupboard in my bedroom (usually with Dec keeping our dog, Moose, quiet in another room!) and getting cranky every time I accidentally leave the noisy heater on and it kicks in halfway through recording an episode!
I tried recording that first episode again (with my notes) and it wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was good enough. I was so excited that I’d actually done it and I couldn’t wait to launch it. So, I asked Dec if he could record some music for the intro and not long after, it was up on iTunes and my website!
Each day for about a week, I was getting between 10 and 50 downloads, which I thought was wonderful because my business was brand new (like less than a month old), and nearly everyone following me at the time were my friends and family.
Then, The Mindful Kind was featured in New and Noteworthy on iTunes and the downloads rose to a few hundred each day.
I started getting pretty nervous to be honest, because on one hand, of course I wanted to reach people with my message and share my knowledge, but I wasn’t confident in what I was doing and I wasn’t even sure if anyone would like it!
I was practicing mindfulness really regularly to keep my thoughts focused on the present moment, rather than the "what ifs", like what if I get terrible reviews, what if I say the wrong thing, what if nobody resonates with what I’m saying, and so on.
Then, The Mindful Kind appeared in the Australian iTunes charts and went all the way up to number 7, during which time I started getting a few thousand downloads each day!
All the self-doubt began to dissipate as I started hearing from new listeners (people I’d never met before!) about how much they enjoyed the podcast and how much they were learning. I started to feel like I was making a positive impact and it truly motivated me and solidified my passion for podcasting.
Over the last year and a half, there’s only been one real hiccup at around the start of 2016. I’d been podcasting for about 6 months and while I was enjoying it, I was also freaking out about my financial situation. I’d quit my full time job in September of the previous year to launch my business as a mindfulness mentor and I’d been doing all kinds of things, from running workshops, to writing eBooks, to running the mindful kind challenge, to speaking at events and running one on one Skype coaching. I even looked into advertising on the podcast because for the amount of downloads I was getting, I knew I could charge a few hundred dollars per episode. However, I decided not to, since the episodes are short and I didn’t want to take away from my message and risk people unsubscribing when I had so much I wanted to share.
I then started wondering if podcasting was really worth it. On one hand, I felt like I was really helping people, but on the other hand I was losing faith in my ability to run a business and I was starting to borrow money just to pay my rent.
Things were looking fairly dire for a few months and so I started applying for various other jobs (and worrying about the time I'd lose from my business and what that might mean for my blog and podcast).
Out of the blue about halfway through 2016, I received a call from my old boss, wondering if I would be happy to return to my previous job part-time. Of course, I said yes and I was really grateful! Not only was I able to stop worrying where my next money would come from, I could actually invest back into my business (which is when we built the website I have now), and still have time to keep up with my business projects.
It’s been almost a year since I returned to part-time work and in that time, I’ve kept releasing a new episode of The Mindful Kind each week and worked on growing my business and community.
At the start of June 2017, The Mindful Kind reached one million downloads and in the 2 months since then, has already had another 250,000. It’s been an incredible journey and one I’m so happy I decided to take.
I’ve heard from people all over the world about how the podcast has helped them to live more mindfully- I even had someone write to me and say they’ve been learning English by listening to my episodes! I love this work and I hope to be doing it for a really long time to come.