My Podcast Creation Journey

podcast creation journey May 25, 2022
Charis Santillie with her audio recording equipment for her Charis Your Life podcast, and the caption
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I launched my Charis Your Life podcast July 5, 2022. Click here to listen and subscribe!

The podcast creation process was an adventure with every step. It was quite fascinating to see what emotional hurdles came up. I had numerous opportunities to dig into my toolbox and “practice what I preach.”

Part 1: Getting Set Up 🎙️ 

Learning about podcasting equipment was fun since I'm a little bit of a tech geek.

Wearing headphones did take me a little while to get used to, yet I'm so glad I did because they make a HUGE difference when recording. I can quickly notice if I need to re-record a section due to a background noise issue.

If anyone out there wants to geek out with me - here are the deets:

🎙️ I have a silver Blue Yeti microphone with a pop filter on a Rode boom arm and Sivga rosewood headphones. I’m impressed with the Blue Yeti and see why it is a leader in the USB mic space. (Update: I upgraded to a Sontronics Podcast Pro a few months into my podcast. The Blue Yeti was great, yet the new mic is fantastic! And it works better when I want to have excellent audio while on video since it has a built-in pop filter and I can talk into the top of it so it doesn't block my face. And as a bonus it comes in a bunch of colors...mine is gold.)

🎧 I went on a hunt for the headphones. I wanted a good quality pair suitable for my purpose and comfortable to wear for long batching sessions. I love how beautiful these Sivga SV021 classic rosewood closed back headphones are; I couldn't pass up the chance to get a pair I'd love looking at on my desk – and coming from a design background, I do appreciate aesthetics. 😊 
(Update: I had an issue with the cord a few months later and got this new Youkamoo braided silver-plated cord which is super quality.)

🐶 I'm fortunate to live in a tranquil area. My only sound issue is my furry assistant. If I record in the morning, Heidi (my 4.5 lb Havapoo) may be laying on my lap napping. But if she's awake and intrigued by wildlife outside (squirrels, deer, and turkeys), I put her down the hall.

🎛️ As a Mac person, I’m using GarageBand for recording the audio. I found it intuitive to use and watched some YouTube videos to learn how to get the best result. It felt like quite an accomplishment to see a proper waveform show up when everything was set up correctly.

Part 2: Decision to Hire an Agency 🤝

The decision to hire an agency was a surprisingly significant emotional hurdle I faced.

I followed Anna Parker-Naples for many months and was impressed with her work.

She's a bestselling author, multi-award-winning audio expert, recognized for her work in Hollywood, and a leading podcast launch expert.

Initially, I had planned to launch my podcast pretty much on my own.

I knew I could do that, especially with my entrepreneurial background and the various products I've launched over the years. I had learned a ton from being part of Anna's Podcast Membership and was an avid listener of her own two international podcasts.

However, I am committed to work-life balance and not getting sucked into the old trap of overworking.

I want to maintain physical and emotional health and well-being (which is what I also help my clients do through my courses).

Some real moments of anxiety came up as I realized something inside me was urging me to hire her Podcast Agency for her full launch service.

For me, anxiety becomes present at a crossroads where I have a choice to honor my values and commitments.

The part of me resisting was still holding onto old patterns and was scared to allow myself to break free even further from that old comfort zone.

I sat with the decision for a few days, using my coaching tools (on myself) to clarify what was going on underneath the anxiety about signing up.

Once I made the decision, the anxious feelings lessened quickly. I felt relief at being guided through the process by Anna and her team. Then I could focus on my "zone of genius" (shout out to Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap) instead of just doing everything because I could figure it out if I put in extra hours.

Historically, getting support hasn't always been an easy go-to for me, and I'm thrilled it is becoming more of a norm, even though I occasionally come up against the resistance of my inner saboteurs.

I'm grateful I have the tools to overcome those moments, not by powering through like I used to do, but by softening and backing up to evaluate what I want and what I need.

Part 3: Field Research 🔬

A podcast listener for about six years, I am most attracted to shows that inspire me to continue learning and growing. During the past six months, I paid particular attention to the numerous details of podcasts. 

I noticed how they were structured, what their intros and outros were like, if they had music or not, if they did solo or guest shows, what their audio quality sounded like, how often they released an episode, the length of the episodes, the show notes, etc. 

I also noticed nuanced things like how a host spoke about their experiences, what details they shared, and how they told stories.

I enjoyed it when people were vulnerable and honest yet able to throw in some lighthearted moments and laugh at life or themselves. 

There were some podcasts that I never became a loyal listener of, and I took mental notes of what it was about those shows that didn’t seem to work for me.

It wasn’t long before I started creating the vision for my show.

The creative juices began pouring out of me with ideas about the intro, outro, artwork, and what I wanted to share. 

When moments of doubt came up, I remembered the voices of people I’ve helped through my coaching and courses, expressing how much I “calmed” them and how my voice is “soothing.”

I would re-read feedback saying I’m “full of positive vibes and good energy,” and I helped them “feel lighter and wanting more.”

The desire to create my podcast was more than an idea I had one day. It came at me like a giant magnet pulling me with such force that I could not resist it, nor did I want to.

I knew that if I went for it, I could make a difference in people’s lives and have a lot of fun along the way.

Part 4: Podcast Description Approved 

The Podcast Agency I’m working with has a particular way of creating the show description.

They, of course, want it to flow and be an accurate summary of the show, yet they also know the importance of having keywords in it for SEO optimization.

After Anna and I had a detailed conversation about my vision for the show and what was important to me, her team did extensive keyword research and then artistically wove those keywords into the description.

I was pretty impressed with the draft shared with me, and it only took some minor adjustments during a call with Anna before I signed off on the final version.

Here is a sneak peek at the first few sentences:

“Charis Your Life Podcast will help you go from busy to balanced. You're tired of feeling frenetic and out of control, trying to keep all of the balls in the air with little time for yourself. …”

Part 5: First 10 Episode Titles 📚

Coming up with the first 10 podcast episode titles by myself would have felt a little daunting because the perfectionist and overachiever inside of me have a history of popping up and trying to take over during new projects.

However, I have learned various techniques to keep them at bay, and one of those is getting support. Since I hired The Podcast Agency, which handles the entire launch process, this step was a breeze.

I followed Anna’s guidance on a simple homework assignment, and then during a call with her, we reviewed my notes and created the first ten titles in a flash.

This was one of those beautiful moments when, as a coach, I was reminded how powerful it is to have my own coaches and mentors for various things in my life. Coaches need coaches too!

Some of the topics I’ll be covering in the first ten episodes include your first step to better life balance, managing time more effectively, how to go from overwhelmed to empowered, and how to fill up your tank before you feel depleted.

Part 6: Cover Art Finalized 🎨

Since childhood, I've loved being creative, and I have a background in graphic design. When I reviewed pictures of me from a photo shoot to choose the image for my podcast cover artwork, I instantly knew which one to use.

At a glance, it conveys a relaxed feeling of me being at peace and experiencing life to its fullest.

The hat I'm wearing reflects fun and adventure, and since I often wear hats when I'm outside, it was a perfect accessory.

 What makes the hat truly special is that it belonged to my Mom (wow, she looked great in hats; she could’ve been a hat model).

One of the reasons I’m doing this podcast is that, unfortunately, she wasn’t able to navigate life’s challenges in a healthy way. She became overwhelmed and turned to alcohol to numb the pain.

She struggled to choose herself, which ultimately led to a life that ended early. I have no doubt she loves the work I’m doing to teach others skills she didn’t learn.

And, of course, including my dog, Heidi, is a reminder of pure joy. She’s also my furry assistant, either lying on my lap or in her bed on my desk while I’m working.

I hope you feel the essence of the show from the cover artwork and that it inspires you to tune in!

Part 7: Intro and Outro 🎼 🎸

When thinking about creating my intro and outro, I instantly reached out to my friend, Paul Souyoultzis, who has been a musician and guitarist for as long as I’ve known him (which goes back to college in the ‘90s).

I knew that not only could he help me with his audio engineering skills, but having him add some of his guitar magic to my music track would be very cool and meaningful for me. (If you haven’t noticed by now, I love to infuse personal touches into as much as possible. 😊)

It’s also essential for me to ENJOY the process, and I knew we would have a blast working together. Creation without joy, in my experience, leads to a very unhealthy and unbalanced life.

Reminder: I initially planned to do the entire podcast creation process as a DIY project, and then mid-process, I decided to hire an agency.

Although The Podcast Agency typically produces the intro and outro as part of their full launch service, I shared my versions with Anna, and we decided to keep what Paul and I had crafted.

There was a great lesson in that experience, though, that I’d like to share. I realized that I was initially very attached to what we had already done.

Before the call with Anna, I spent several days self-coaching to release my expectations, detach from the outcome, and be open to receiving new ideas from an expert.

By the day of our call, I checked in with myself, and at that point, I had mentally shifted and was ready to make changes to the intro and outro if that was the best course of action.

Even though we decided to keep them both, I had an opportunity to practice using my tools to bring me back to my center, where genuine peace of mind exists; in other words, I didn’t mind what happened.

Part 8: Recorded Initial 10 Episodes 🎙️ 🎧

My most significant aha moment while recording the initial ten episodes: the more I share, the more I teach, the more I coach – the more I heal myself.

I honestly hadn’t realized how much I would get back out of giving. It’s a beautiful bonus that I didn’t think about when I first ventured on this journey.

One of the episodes that will drop in the first few weeks after the launch will be on the 28th anniversary of my family’s hot air balloon accident

I immediately knew I wanted to focus that episode on the accident and share more about what happened that hot July day back in 1994.

As I prepared some notes, I felt the urge to pull out a box of documents I’d saved all these years. I shed some tears as I re-read the news headlines and the accounts of what happened. 

I also came across some of my personal writing from my Freshman year of college (the year before the accident) and saw the stark contrast to what I wrote the following year after our lives flipped upside down. 

Now here I am, 28 years later, grieving again, in a different, deeper way, for what that younger me and my family went through. Another layer of my protective shell has slipped away. Healing is a never-ending process.

Part 9: Inner Critic 🤨, Self-Doubt 🤷‍♀️, and Fear 😱

Oh, how my inner critic, self-doubt, and fear showed up soon after submitting my first ten podcast episodes to the production team!

“Should I have some people listen to these to make sure they are good?”

“Did I have the right energy?”

“I’ve still got plenty of issues; what right do I have to teach others?”
“Holy Sh!t, what am I doing starting this podcast?”

And on and on…

‘Focus’ is a key proactive behavior for me to settle my system.

Focusing on my breathing or listening to the birds outside are two of my go-to's for grounding myself and getting the left side of my brain (where my occasionally overly-analytical self plus my occasionally overly-protective self reside) to chill out a bit as the right side (where my calmer self and playful self reside) finally has space to step in and help guide my feelings and actions.

Once I felt a little peace of mind, I started focusing on one task at a time and did whatever was the best next thing for me at the moment. 

Years ago, I would have ruminated in doubt and anxiety for days.

Our inner saboteurs never completely go away, yet we all can quiet them over time, as well as learn how to settle them down when they get riled up and start taking us for a ride.

Am I still having some moments of doubt and fear around my podcast? 

Heck ya.

And that’s ok. 

I don’t always have to indulge those feelings. 

I can choose a new feeling.

As neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte-Tayler explains, “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment,” she says, “there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”

Part 10: Planning the July 5th Launch

Overwhelm came knocking at my door as soon as I learned of some options for kicking off the podcast in order to get the most exposure possible.

Then I regrouped myself.

I checked in with my heart:
Do I want to get as many ears listening as possible? YES
Do I want to make a difference in as many lives as possible? YES
Do I want to maintain my health and well-being during this process? YES
Am I willing to ask for support? YES
Do I “have to” do everything suggested? No
Can I start by committing to 2 things and go from there? YES

Then I checked in with my gut:
What is the first thing I am willing to commit to?

  1. Hosting a Podcast Launch Party livestream to all of my social media channels on launch day, July 5th, and inviting various guests (personal and professional) to pop in and visit with me live.

And what is the second thing I am willing to commit to?

  1. Creating a What’s App Launch Support Group for anyone who is willing to support me and wants to be the FIRST to know when the show is officially live, plus be part of a competition where 1 person will win a $300 Amazon Gift Card and 2 people will each win a $100 Amazon Gift Card :) To enter the competition, you’ll just need to submit a screen grab of your review.

I learned how important it is to get as many people as possible to subscribe, download, rate, review, and listen to the initial episodes…that’s how the show will have a chance at getting on the charts and showing up as a top new show suggested by Apple…which then increases exposure and allows me to help more people improve their lives.

Part 11: Just 5 Days until it's LIVE! 🎙️

Holy crap—T minus 5 days and counting! My Podcast Creation Journey started about 9 months ago; a friend and I jokingly said it’s like I’m about to give birth!

As I mentioned before, the desire to create this podcast felt like a magnetic pull. I never had to push myself to make it happen. I felt pulled the entire time. 

That doesn’t mean I didn’t face emotional challenges along the way. Those are natural when venturing into anything new, especially something as intimate and vulnerable as this.

If you know my story, you know I’ve been through some traumatic experiences that hugely impacted me.

I spent a few decades coping in unhealthy ways.

Fortunately, I have spent the past ten years exploring better ways to heal myself and uncover who I am underneath the old, protective layers I’ve been shedding. I previously was a workaholic, addicted to overachieving. The young girl still inside me was just scared to slow down, face her feelings, forgive the accident, forgive herself for being imperfect, and learn to be present.

To the outside world, it looked as though I had it all together, but on the inside, I was on the verge of falling apart.

I knew there was more for me, and I wanted to become a better version of myself.

I am now in a more relaxed and calm place, no longer stressed all the time, with improved health, stronger relationships, and more happiness.

I’m ready to get my voice out there to help others with actionable tips and inspiration so that more people can heal their lives and regain control.

My Podcast Creation Journey is coming to a close, and yet another journey is about to begin; I can’t wait to see what shows up along the way!

Part 12: Launch Day 🚀

I was excited and a little nervous (my voice a little shaky and my heart racing a bit) to announce the podcast was live inside my private What's App group. I am so grateful I have a group full of friends, family, clients, and followers who said yes to supporting me in the launch of this podcast. The comments that quickly started coming in from the group and on social media were so reassuring and heartwarming.

Livestream Launch Party 🎉

To celebrate the launch, I hosted a two-hour Livestream Launch Party (streamed on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube). You can watch the recording here. The first 3 seconds really captured the way I if my soul was saying, "here I am."

I was honored to have these great friends and mentors join me for fun 10-minute chats during the party:
Sigrun (Business Coach & Mentor)
Amy Bowman (Friend of 34 years since I was 13 years old)
Kristen Eykel (Spiritual Teacher, Master Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master Teacher, Kundalini Teacher)
Felicia Bender (The Practical Numerologist)
Vicki Garcia (Executive & Professional Development Coach, Master Certified Fearless Living Coach)
Ilyse Craft (Life & Empowerment Coach)

Part 13: Hitting the Charts 🤯 

WOOHOO!!! I woke up to amazing news—My podcast hit the charts! I definitely hoped it would hit the charts, yet I really had released those expectations, and I was feeling truly satisfied with the launch no matter what happened.

Top 40 in U.S. Entrepreneurship on Apple Podcasts
Top 200 in U.S. Business on Apple Podcasts.
(My podcast consultant, Anna, was thrilled and told me that the U.S. Business chart is really hard to hit without a large following.) 

It also hit the Top 50 in U.S. Business New Shows on Apple Podcasts.

And some top charts internationally...
Top 30 Sweden Entrepreneurship
Top 200 Sweden Business
Top 15 Philippines Entrepreneurship
Top 50 Philippines Business
Top 20 Cyprus Entrepreneurship
Top 110 Cyprus Business
Top 30 Netherlands Entrepreneurship

What a ride! I'm super excited to continue to share stories and messages through this podcast in the weeks, months, and years ahead. There will be weekly solo episodes released on Mondays and Bonus 'Charis Chats' episodes with guests periodically. Enjoy!!!

Listen and Subscribe to the Charis Your Life Podcast below! 👇

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