This week I sat down with Sarah St John, an entrepreneur, podcaster, online course creator, and author. She has created several startups throughout her entrepreneurial career of over a decade. She currently owns a podcast production agency called PodSeam. She is also the podcast host of “Frugalpreneur: Building a Business on a Bootstrapped Budget” which aims to show people how to launch and manage an online business on a budget.
Learn more about Sarah at https://www.thesarahstjohn.com/free/ & at www.podseam.com
Find Socialistics at www.socialistics.com
Jason Yormark: Hello, and welcome to another of the socialistics podcasts. This is Jason Yormark your friendly neighborhood, social media agency owner. And I’m excited with our guests today. Her name is Sarah St. John from podseam.com. We’re going to talk all things podcasting, Sarah, welcome to the show.
Sarah St John: Well, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Jason Yormark: Absolutely. So let’s just kinda jump right in like I do with all of our guests. Tell me a little bit about your background, what you’ve done, where you’re at and where you’re headed. All that good stuff.
Sarah St John: Awesome. Cool. So I started my entrepreneurial journey back in ‘08. I had had six different jobs that year not at the same time, but throughout the course of the year and realized that working for other people just wasn’t my thing. And so I started a photography business because I liked doing photography, but I realized I didn’t really like taking photos of people, just like landscapes, architecture, animals. And, but it was more the issue of the expense to maintain equipment and everything. So I was like, well, maybe I’ll switch to an online business model because it’d be there wouldn’t be as much overhead, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. So I tried a bunch of different things like drop shipping, affiliate, marketing, blogging, all of that. And it was during that process that I discovered all these free or really affordable tools, resources, and software, you can use to run a business on a budget.
So I decided to write a book called frugalpreneur that kind of goes over all the different types of online business models and how to run them on a budget. And while I was writing that book, I decided, oh, I should launch a podcast as well, also called frugalpreneur to help market the book. So it was only going to be like 10 episodes or something just to kind of coincide with the book, but I got more leverage and traction with the podcast than the book. And so, and I love the connections I was making and networking and all that. So I decided to keep the podcast going and I’ve been doing that for a couple of years now. I’m like 80 something episodes in and I’ve been producing my own podcast and people would tell me how much, how I did a good job, and everything. And so I decided, well, why not get paid to do it for other people? So I launched a podcast production agency recently, and now I’m working on a podcasting course. And so I’m kind of all in, on podcasting now, but it took over a decade of trying this, that, and the other thing to get to that point. And I got to that point kind of on accident really, because it was just going to be another marketing avenue. It wasn’t in my plan for it to be a long-term thing.
Jason Yormark: No, that’s awesome. Interesting. I started, my first podcast was for kind of a hobby for, for playing baseball and we did that and it took off people loved it and I’m like, well, and I knew that I should probably do one for my agency, but I was like, well, I don’t know what that looks like. And I don’t know. And like, why would I do it? And I think for me, I just like, you know what, progress, not perfection. Let’s just, I enjoy it. Let’s just put it out there. Let’s see what happens and just has been consistent with that. And, you know, growing an audience and still still kind of figuring out, you know, you know, what the, what the end result or the goal is. But I think ultimately for me, it’s just been it’s kind of therapeutic, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s therapeutic because I can talk through what we’re experiencing as an agency. And then also especially in the current environment, it’s really one of the few ways to connect with people and have meaningful conversations. So I think right now that’s all I care that it is what it’ll be, you know, a year from now who knows. But on that note, what, in your opinion, like if I’m a, an agency or I’m somebody that’s thinking about starting an agency and I love the idea of podcasting you know, what are some of the things somebody that’s just starting out, what do they need to be thinking about to best kind of prepare themselves for the responsibility of doing it and doing it well? Like what are some of the things to be thinking about and setting up, setting yourself up for success?
Sarah St John: For an agency or for a podcast?
Jason Yormark: For a podcast.
Sarah St John: Okay. Yeah. So I think the first thing people need to keep in mind is that you don’t have to start out with a bunch of really expensive equipment. I think that kind of hinders people or keeps them back from actually launching, cause they they’re thinking of radio broadcasting studios. But I mean, my whole setup was under a hundred bucks.
Jason Yormark: Ya, me too.
Sarah St John: Yeah. I have the ATR 2100 which was like 60 or 80 bucks. And then it’s a USB mic. You plug right into your computer and there’s plenty of free software out there. So I would recommend, you know, starting out that way because first of all, you don’t even know if you’re going to stick with it. So why spend 5,000 on, you know, all this other stuff. And then, you know, you can of course upgrade as you go along if you’d like. The other thing is I think people, it isn’t the recording that people have a problem with. It’s the, all the post-production and, and that’s in part why I decided to, to launch the podcast production agency because there’s so much pod fading happening where like someone will start a podcast, get seven to 10 episodes in on average. And, you know, they didn’t realize how much time and even technical skills on a certain level that it takes to edit produce, and then to do the social media that like the blog posts, the graphics, the audio grams, all that stuff to promote it. And so and so basically that’s what our agency does is just do all the backend stuff. Post-Production so that’s another thing to keep in mind. Let’s see what else you need to have you need to niche down, like, not be some broad.
I mean, there’s some people who can get away with having a podcast that talks about anything and everything, but for the average person, they need to niche down to something very specific. Like my podcast is called frugalprenuer, which yes, it’s about entrepreneurship, but on a budget. So that’s like how, how niche down it is. And of course yours is about social media and all of that. And so and then, you know, definitely think about what you name it. Like, I love how your, the name of yours is like basically the same name as your, your company, which definitely helps with branding. Whereas mine, of course, I didn’t have the podcast production agency when I started the podcast, but yeah, so I’m, I’m kind of thinking that through now, like how do I make that connection? But so yeah, naming is important. The show art is important. I, a lot of people think that they could name their show with just their name. And I think it’s good to have like a name and then say with so-and-so whatever your name is, but to name the show after yourself, if you’re not, I mean, if you’re Oprah, that’s fine, but other, but for the average person, it doesn’t make sense because people aren’t going to know who you are. And there’s like, what gives, what gives them reason to check out your podcast, if it’s just your name and they don’t know who you are, you have to have a name that kind of tells you what it’s going to be about.
Jason Yormark: That’s a good point that again, it goes back to a lot when we talk to our clients, it’s like, what, what, what are your goals and objectives? Like, what do you want to accomplish with it? You know, who, who, who is it that you’re wanting to reach? And what is it that you’re going to be talking about and that, you know, nine times out of 10, that should lead you to some sort of concept or name that makes sense. But but yeah, I think it’s just a matter of, I think setting goals and objectives and who you’re trying to reach can kind of help you get there.
Sarah St John: Yeah, definitely. And yeah, there’s, I mean, there’s so many things to kind of keep in mind when starting a podcast, but I would say those are definitely some of the, the beginning things you should be thinking about.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. What what are some thoughts about like how do, if, if you’re just starting out, like do you recommend how somebody tackles kind of the number of episodes that they really should be? How often should they publish? How many should be kind of done before you put it out there? Like, what are some other things that can help folks kind of prepare for, you know, a podcast that’s sticks.
Sarah St John: Yeah. I think people are so used to bingeing these days, like with Netflix and all of that. And so I think it’s important to at least launch with three episodes, but ideally, more than I launched with seven, like really seven at one time, because if you just launch one, it’s like, oh yeah, people might listen to it, but then what keeps them coming back? You have to kind of get them. What would the word be? I don’t, I guess, to binge your show and like ex be anticipating more episodes as far as how often, I would say at least once a week some people do daily shows, which seems like a lot. I did that for a while, but that’s hard to maintain. A lot of people do twice a week, which two to three times a week that that’s more feasible, but I would say at least once a week if you start getting into bi-weekly or monthly or whatever, you’re probably going to lose people because yeah.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. That’s interesting. So I started out doing it every week and then I just found that I couldn’t keep up with it every week from you know, cause I’ve always been kind of like quality over quantity, you know, just making sure that, you know, I just didn’t want to turn the microphone on and start babbling about stuff just to make sure that it had something every week. So I’ve been testing every other week over the past couple of months. I don’t know. It’s interesting. I, you know, the podcast consumption is so fascinating to me, especially right now, because right now, I mean, we’re still, there’s so many people that aren’t commuting to work, so you’re, you’re missing that dynamic. You still have a lot of people that aren’t in gyms yet, so you’re missing that dynamic. So I would argue that those are two of two of the probably most, you know, that’s the most likely scenario where, where people are consuming a lot of that. So in my mind, I’m thinking, well, you know, how are people listening to podcasts now? You know, it’s, it’s probably a little bit more casual, but it’s still blowing up. So I, you know, it’s interesting, I’m hoping that we get to a point I, I, what I’m hoping for, and this is good advice for any agency owners, you know, once you reach a certain level of success as an agency owner, you should be able to remove yourself from the business so that you can do these sorts of things. So I always say progress, not perfection. You know, if you can get out there and stay consistent and do it at least, you know, you know, twice, once a month or twice a month, just to kind of get good at it and get comfortable with the process you can always kind of work your way up to that every week sort of thing. And the other part too, is just finding interesting guests. You know, I think that that’s an actually that that’s a good question for me to ask you is you know, how, what are some good tools, strategies for folks to find a good flow of guests for their show?
Sarah St John: Yeah. And to your point that you just mentioned, yeah, I get a progress… I like that quote, you should put it on a shirt or something.
Jason Yormark: They invented that. I’m sure I stole it.
Sarah St John: But yeah. So, I mean, even if you can only start out with an episode every other week, you know, just to get started. But as far as guests go, what I use is there’s a bunch of different websites out there now where it’s like matching podcasters with guests. There’s like pod match, pod Booker, pod it matchmaker, wild cast. There’s like 10 of them probably. And a lot of them have a free plan and I’m just on the free plan on all of them. And yeah, you can basically, you have a profile up, like if you’re a host, a podcast host, you’ll have your podcast. And well, it depends on what platform, but some of them let you, you know, put up some episodes or, you know, and then you can have a guest profile or even both, I have both on most of them where, you know, the, like the different bullet points for things you can talk about and things like that.
And so you, that’s a really easy way and affordable free to to find guests or even find podcasts to be, to be a guest on, because even if you have your own podcast, I recommend still guesting on other shows because then you’re getting access to their audience that maybe they would’ve never heard of you otherwise. So and like, what we’re doing is actually what I would call a pot swap where we’re on each other’s shows, which to me is the best of both worlds. So yeah, there’s some, there’s some paid places you can go to, you know, where that company like does all the legwork contacting, but I mean, if you have the budget for it, I guess you could do that. But I, I don’t know. I just do all it all personally.
Jason Yormark: So you had talked to her, so I want to talk a little bit about the editing side. So I’ve kind of dabbled in and out of it. I kind of enjoy it a little bit, so I I’m doing some of it right now, but I know that that’s not gonna scale, especially if I want to kind of move to a weekly cadence. So for those that are looking to dive into this, or maybe are doing it, just struggle with the volume of expertise or time that it takes to kind of facilitate it end to end, you know, what can some folks expect in terms of hiring an outfit like yours, pod seam or something similar, you know, what are they going to get from that? Like, what are they going to not have to do? And from a budget standpoint, you know, what what’s realistic in terms of you know, what you’re going to have to invest to kind of have things taken care of?
Sarah St John: Yeah. So, I mean, it saves people a lot of time because for me, like for every, let’s say hour episode they’re not always an hour, but let’s just go with that. It can take up to five hours for all the post-production. And so it definitely saves time. It saves people, the having to learn like technical skills and what, what they should be editing out or you know, what they should have in their show notes, you know, all that kind of stuff. And I would say what’s different, there’s tons of editing and production companies out there. And then there’s tons of like podcasts coaches. Well, what I’m doing is combining the two where if you become a client and I’m doing your podcast and all that which includes like the editing, producing the mixing, mastering all that plus audiograms, show notes transcriptions, just all of that stuff.
But in addition, I also do coaching basically in auditing. Like, I’ll listen to an episode, tell you what’s good. What isn’t good, what needs improvement? If you haven’t even started a podcast, I would help with that whole launch process and cover art naming and all of that. So I think that’s how I stand out more is by offering kind of everything under one umbrella, instead of having to go to two different places. As far as pricing, I’m starting at it’s 9.97 a month, that’s my starting you know, the prices may raise as I get more and more clients. But that’s, well, I have I have two packages. One is audio-only, which that’s 9.97 and then audio and video, which is 14.97.
Jason Yormark: How many, how many episodes a month does that cover?
Sarah St John: More and less, it happens to be a month where there’s five weeks, then an extra one just gets thrown in for free or gotcha. And also include a website as well. And yeah, just, I have like a full breakdown of like what all is included on the website. Yeah.
Jason Yormark: Gotcha. Okay. What so a couple more questions, one that I’d like to ask everybody and we’ll make it maybe podcast themed here. If that comes to mind what’s your favorite app website, gadget book, something that comes to mind that you’ve really enjoyed or used exhaustively lately?
Sarah St John: Oh, okay. So for books, I love Russell Brunson’s books. I don’t know if you’ve read them, but it’s like.com secrets, expert secrets and traffic secrets. They’re they’re jam packed. I just, I, I love those books. I think I’ve read each of them twice now. Let’s see for podcasts, I listened to entrepreneurs on fire, John Lee Dumas smart, passive income with pat Flynn, a hustle and flow chart. It’s a couple of guys that host that show. Those are the main podcasts I listened to regularly. Oh. And Dan Henry, I don’t know if you’re familiar with him. He’s like a big click funnel guy. Yeah, let’s see. As far as apps and all of that. I mean, actually on my, my website, my personal website, I have a at the top, which the website is theSarahStJohn.Com at the top. There’s a tab that says 27 tools I use. And that yeah. That lists like everything I use and recommend, and a lot of them are free and others are, you know, really cheap. But yeah, so that, yeah, that’ll answer the question very effectively.
Jason Yormark: So. Cool. Awesome. Well, that’s great. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share with the audience based on kind of what we talked through today?
Sarah St John: Well, a couple of things I just like to, I guess, mention to people is that I think entrepreneurs, I know this is something I’ve struggled with and I think entrepreneurs in general with shiny object syndrome and where you might get started on something, and then you think of, or hear about something else. And you’re like, Ooh, I gotta try that. And you end up with your hands and like 10 different things at one time. And I did that, you know, years ago. And but that, I mean, cause then you can only dedicate so much time, attention and money to each thing. Whereas if you focus on one thing, then you can, you know, a hundred percent on that. So trying to recognize when you develop shiny object syndrome and try to overcome that and, you know, focus on one thing. Another thing I would say is that another thing I’ve struggled with is spending so much time learning, but not implementing. And so now for every hour I spend learning, I try to spend another hour implementing what I’ve learned because otherwise what’s the point. And so and it’s important to learn through courses and podcasts and books and all that, but you need to implement what you’re learning too. So those are just two pieces of advice of things I’ve struggled with and things to kind of look out for as someone starting their journey.
Jason Yormark: Awesome. I love it. So and where where can folks find you?
Sarah St John: So, so the podcast production agency is podseam.com, P O D S E A M. And I give, I have three books that I give away the PDF version for free at the SarahStJohn.Com/free, and that Sarah with an H and then the last name is S T J O H N.
Jason Yormark: Awesome. Well, we will include those links in our show notes. Thank you so much for being on the show and sharing your insights.
Sarah St John: Thanks so much for having me.
Jason Yormark: Absolutely. All right. Well that does it for this week’s episode of Socialistics, social media agency stories. Thank you for listening. Subscribe, share all that good stuff. Thank you for listening. We will see you next time.
Jason is a 20+ year marketing veteran including time spent at Microsoft overseeing social media for Microsoft Advertising & Office for Mac. Once named to Forbes Power Social Media Influencers List, Jason is the owner and founder of Socialistics.