This story begins on January 6th, 2017. My husband and I had just returned from visiting family and friends back in Chicago for the holidays. With the warm sun on my face and palm trees in view, I was happy to be home. But more than that, I was excited to get back to work. It’s true, I really was!
It was the Friday morning staff meeting and, per usual, the team exchanged general pleasantries. As I talked with our faithful leader, Brandon, he shares the news that “Hey, we are changing the company name.”
“Hah! That’s a funny joke, faithful leader. The smirk on your face says otherwise.”
However, the punch line to this joke never came. Our faithful leader reassured me this was not a joke and began to unpack the legal challenges we were facing if we continued using the name Wayfare.
“But, we just had the logo redesigned…and we just spent the past four months refreshing the website…and don’t the lawyers understand all the work we’ve put into this name?!”
My internal monologue was going off the rails as the truth of the situation set in: we’re going to have to change the company name. The staff meeting continued and I sat in this emotional cocktail of confusion and excitement.
That feeling of excitement is one most startup entrepreneurs can relate to. Adrenaline and fear of the unknown are your fuel as every day brings you new hurdles to jump. I didn’t know what the future was going to bring with this renaming but, good or bad, I was stoked to be a part of it.
I was sitting at my desk when another voice entered my internal dialogue – it was Alex Blumberg, podcast mogul and co-founder of Gimlet Media.
“this sucks for us, but it would make great audio…”
Okay, he didn’t say that exactly, but you get the point. What a genius! What if we recorded this renaming process and turned it into a podcast? Now, I had never produced a podcast before but I knew our company had a unique and authentic story to tell. It’s now eight months later and I can proudly say I’ve launch my very first podcast.
All of that fear and excitement in starting something new pushed me to this point. I’ve learned a lot from this process and I can only hope that my story would offer encouragement to anyone starting something new. Here are just some of the lessons I’ve learned so far:
1. You don’t know all the answers, and that’s okay
Starting something new, like a podcast, can be super intimidating. What microphone do I use? Do I go all Katie Couric and interview people or keep it as a casual, open conversation? Who do I even interview? How do I edit audio? The questions never end and can slow you down if you wait for answers. It’s way better to test something out, see if it works and respond accordingly. I started my interviews with a script full of questions, which ended up feeling too tight and restricted the interviewee from opening up to me. Now that I have tested interview-style, I know the most authentic audio comes from a relaxed and open conversation with one another.
P.S. When in doubt, Google it! The internet is a treasure trove of insight.
2. Surround yourself with a supportive team
In moments of frustration and uncertainty I become my own worst critic. I’m lucky to have an entire team that not only holds me accountable but gets amped about my ideas. When you hear those voices telling you you’re going to fail, lean on those people who will support and encourage you. If you don’t have that kind of support at work, lean on friends or family that you respect and trust their opinion.
3. Ask for help. You can’t do it all.
With my background being graphic design, I would call myself a visual storyteller. My skills were not in script writing or audio and, in addition to that, I was a podcast team of one. Rather than trying to become Wonder Woman, I leaned on my teammates to help form the narrative. Rather than waste time trying to do it all myself I can use the resources around me that are already there! How smart is that?!
So this is what I’ve learned as I’ve started something new. My advice to you: Go for it!
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