For 10 long years, I worked in banking & finance.
Back then, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, until one vivid moment at the photocopier when I wondered what kind of media courses colleges offered these days. Before I knew it, I'd enrolled in a 2-year Radio class, which would lead onto an Honours degree.
My wife was supportive, if unsure of the outcome. My parents were confused and concerned for my wife and I's financial long-term security. “But is there a job at the end of it all?” Obviously, I couldn't answer that with any certainty, but that's the same with 99% of all courses, right?
That's the problem with The Arts – people generally don't understand what you're up to, what the point of it is, or what you hope to achieve.
Okay, so in answer to this article's question… well, actually, I'm telling you right now to REJECT the premise of the question!
I know you would normally hope to expect encouragement and support from those close to you – you've probably done the same for them, after all – but the fact is that podcasting is still a niche produced and enjoyed by a minority in the world.
Not only that, but any monetisation – which IS achievable – will only happen by unconventional means.
“What, so you're just hoping people will donate money to you? So, you're like a Street Performer?”
Of course, you're unlikely to be in it for the money in the short term. So what's going to keep you going, despite those around you showing little interest?
Target Audience > Friends and Family
What is your podcast about? Is it a cooking podcast? Maybe a 12-week Health & Fitness show? Ask yourself if your pal Jim, or your 60 year old Dad, would normally be interested in your show's topic.
Chances are they wouldn't be, so try and remember that when they show only a brief interest, and remember – they ARE happy for you.
But they probably can't or won't fake an interest in your guide to making a souffle, nor your “Guaranteed Rock Hard Abs in 3 Months!”
Sometimes, of course, they simply don't know what a podcast is, despite you explaining it in as simple terms as possible.
“It's like radio but on the internet, and you can listen to it anytime!”
“Which station can I hear it on?”
“Erm… on the internet… you see, Dad…”
“That's good. Well done. Do you want to speak to your brother before I hang up?”
Seriously, don't take it to heart.
It's YOUR Passion
You're doing it for YOU, first and foremost. Don't look back in 5, 10 or 20 years and wish you'd done more with your free time. I certainly won't.
People who don't support you simply don't know what it's like to be you. No-one does. In fact, those who DO support you are doing it out of blind faith. Repay them by putting your passion into your podcast.
Nobody spends their last days wishing they'd spent more time at the office. Remember – La vie est courte!
Ignorance and Insecurity
A lack of support from the people you trust may be less about you and more about them.
Any disdain you pick up on could be another sign of their lack of understanding – people fear and ridicule new ideas, including new media.
By all means, take on board any CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, but don't let it cloud your judgement. Keep going, keep learning and improving. Show them you can do it!
Find Support Elsewhere
Of course you'll want encouragement and help from the people in your everyday life. But when it doesn't come, remember that there's an entire world of podcasting out there.
Nearly every successful podcaster out there – and that list is growing every day – started from scratch. They weren't all tech-savvy or media-trained. Basically, they're probably much like you – a fan of podcasts who wanted to make their own.
5 years ago, I didn't know the difference between one microphone and the next, or how prevent
popping when recording, or how to use a Digital Audio Workstation. But I soon learned, just like everyone else in podcasting.
The good news – many podcasters are willing to share the knowledge. Find the relevant forums, and start talking to people and get involved. Next thing you know, someone else will join that knows less than you because of how much you've learned.
Oh, and you probably have a few shows you listen to and love, right? Get in touch with them!
My colleague Matthew – Head of Audio, here – and I make Audio Drama, a.k.a. Fiction Podcasts, and we learned so much in the early days just from talking to industry stalwarts like K.C. Wayland of We're Alive fame. Naturally, we also pass that knowledge on to anyone who wants it.
Remember – it's YOUR Passion, not Theirs
What's that thing your family member loves but you can't get into? Sports? That fantasy TV show with all the violence and nudity? Yoga and Pilates? Admit it, you don't love everything and neither do they. If you make a podcast about it, they still won't love the topic.
Get over it. Come to peace with the fact that they'll be ostensibly pleased for you, provided the conversation can move to more common ground before too long.
Find those people who share your passion. You'll get a lot more support, and they're more likely to actually be able to help you!
How do you Deal With Negativity?
Have you had people tell you you're wasting your time? If so, did this article help?
What do you do to put it out of your mind? Or does it make you push harder to succeed?
Let me know in the comments box below.