Achieving My Dream: How I Became a Podcast Producer
I get asked all the time how I became a podcast producer and what led me to where I am today. Back in December 2021, I was featured as a guest on Lauren Wrighton’s The Podcast Manager Show to talk about just that! It was my first ever podcast interview…and oh, my gosh, I was so nervous! But I also was so excited because Lauren’s Podcast Manager Program is where I learned the ins and outs of podcast management.
The freedom of being your own boss
Now, I’m a podcast producer and strategist, helping coaches strategize, launch, and maintain their podcasts. I take care of all the behind-the-scenes details, so my clients can have more time and freedom to share their inspiration and message with others. And I love, love, love it!
Transitioning from employee to business owner has been a constant learning experience, but it’s so worth it! Today, I’ll share my freelance journey, how I transitioned into podcast management, and how I grew my business from a solo gig to a whole team!
My life before freelance
Before I did any freelance work, I was a fraud investigator in the financial sector.. For over ten years, I investigated credit and debit card fraud – I actually had a lot of fun tracking down the “bad guys” and figuring out the who, what, when, where, and why of each case.
When I switched to the cybersecurity world, I went back to school to get my second master’s degree. You’d never guess that before I started my master’s program, my knowledge of computers pretty much consisted of knowing how to turn one on 🤣 But I was determined, taught myself quickly, and by the grace of God, I graduated with a 4.0!
From fighting crime to fighting ums and uhs
Flash forward to when my husband and I started a family; I had my son and decided to leave the corporate world. But a year into stay-at-home motherhood, I realized I needed something for myself. (That’s totally not a diss on being a mom!) I had this excess mental space to give and felt the pull to find something that might feel fulfilling in a different way.
A friend of mine mentioned that she was working as a VA from home and helping people grow their businesses. I was super intrigued! I went into full-on investigator mode and researched everything I could find to see what was out there, how I could make money, and what this whole VA thing was all about.
My big start was signing up for the Savvy System. It’s a fabulous program for beginners that walks you through every step of VA setup, building your business, and getting your foot in the door with clients.
My early days as a Virtual Assistant
When I started working as a virtual assistant, my son was only about a year and a half old. He was still so little and learning to be independent, so he needed me a lot. I’d work early in the morning, squeeze in an hour or so at nap time, and sometimes pick things back up once he was in bed.
At first, I had a hard time letting go of the old employee mindset. As soon as an email came in, I was on it! But also, I left my day job to be with my son and my family – not to be glued to my desk. I wanted to make this whole VA thing work while still being free to live the family life I’d dreamed about. I had to step back, relax, and realize it’s my business, and I can run it however I want!
A passion for podcasting
As I was going through the Savvy System, I heard someone mention the saying, “The riches are in the niches,” and I couldn’t help but wonder if I could get more specific about what I was passionate about, who I wanted to help, and what I wanted to do.
Within the program are mini-courses on how VAs can niche down, and one was on the basics of becoming a podcasting VA. To say it was an “aha!” moment for me would be an understatement. I mean, hellllllo, I love all things podcasts! I find a new one I’m obsessed with at least every other week (anyone else?) Clearly, this was meant to be.
Except I didn’t have any experience AT ALL in editing podcasts or audio in any form. 🤣 So I reached out to the Savvy network to see if anyone could recommend a podcasting course…and that’s how I found Lauren!
I was so excited to get the technical and marketing skills to re-launch as a podcast VA that I literally signed up the next day!
Starting my own podcast production business
From the moment I started Lauren’s program, I knew podcast management was exactly where I wanted to be. It was just a matter of establishing myself and finding the right clients!
Building a client base in podcast management
After going through the course, I really needed to land that first client to get some experience, (hopefully) land a glowing testimonial, and define myself in the market. That’s when I met my first client, Samara, in a Clubhouse room (remember Clubhouse?!)
She was talking about how she had all these projects she was starting…and one of them was a podcast. She was looking for someone to help her with this new project – and I immediately thought: this is a sign!
I’ve never been a big cold pitcher. But this time, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do! She was the perfect client for me at the time – since we were both new to podcasts, we could learn together about the process and what worked for us. It also probably helped that I had a whole lot of ambition, and I was ready to learn ALL the things as I figured out podcasting. Samara had such a positive impact on my journey, and we’re still friends to this day!
That first year, I worked with anyone and everyone who crossed my path. Now, I’ve niched down to coaches, but I’m so thankful for all those opportunities to say “yes” to people during my first year in business. It helped me figure out what I like to do, my favorite parts of podcast management, and which clients I loved working with.
The better I got to know myself as a podcast manager, the more I realized two things. First, I had a passion for editing and clarifying clients’ messaging so they could connect with and impact their audience. I also realized there were some parts of the process I didn’t like as much – but I didn’t want to give up doing those things for my clients! That’s when I knew it might be time to think about building a team.
Hiring and working with a team
When I first started, I wanted to be a solo act. I had zero interest in growing a team! But I reached a tipping point where my client roster was so full that I would need to start a wait list if I kept going it alone.
In the back of my mind, I started thinking, “Wait a minute, Leah…why is it again that you didn’t want to start a team?” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that building a team would make room to do more of the things I loved, and I could pass off other tasks to people who loved doing those things.
One of my favorite things, period, is helping people – and starting a team was a chance to give other women a foot in the door at the beginner level, help them build their businesses, and mentor them in podcast management.
Now, my team is made up of over a dozen AMAZING women. It helped me grow my business in ways I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to before, and I’m so proud to collaborate with people who make every aspect of our services the best they can be. If something isn’t in my zone of genius, I can pass it off to a team member who will do a fabulous job. Plus, when we work together, we can help so many more people than I could have ever reached on my own!
What’s next for Leah Bryant Co.?
I still love doing hands-on work with clients and my team of podcast ninjas…but I also want to keep growing! At first, it was just about landing clients, but now Leah Bryant Co. has become this incredible group of women and clients I’m ecstatic to work with. I could never have imagined this when I first started, and things are constantly evolving. The potential is really exciting!
For me, success is defined by hearing my clients say that the stress and overwhelm of podcasting are gone, and they’ve freed up their time and mental space to work more on things they love to do.
Expanding our services
My dream is to be able to hire as many women as possible! I am passionate that we need more female representation behind the scenes of podcasting. I’d love to bring on new women, train and mentor them, and pour into them to help them succeed in their businesses (and the podcast industry!)
For now, I love figuring out each phase as it comes, tuning into what’s working for my team, my clients, and me, and learning which direction we want to go next!
What I’ve learned along the way
After building my business to six figures and beyond, I know more than ever what my strengths are and what I love to do. I’ve also learned where I should be a little more like Elsa and just let it goooooo!
Now I understand that to grow my business and have the impact on clients I want to, I’ll need to delegate even more – even if it’s something I enjoy doing! Some things are harder to let go of, but that’s exactly what I need to do to be able to serve people the way I’d like to!
I realize that I can still work with people from my zone of genius, even if my hands aren’t on every single piece of editing. Whether someone works with me on strategy or my team on graphics, we’re still collaborating and working together to bring their podcast to life!
And that’s how I went from fraud investigator and became a podcast producer and strategist!
I never dreamed that taking my first VA course would blossom into my own company! I’ve been so blessed with a growing business that has enabled me to expand my services and bring on a team of phenomenal women who are experts in copywriting, graphic design, editing, and production.
If you’re just starting your journey – seriously, stick with it! You will figure out the things you rock at and the people you want to help. It’s only a matter of time!
If you have questions or want to connect about all things podcast management, let’s hang out on LinkedIn or Instagram – you can send me a DM anytime!
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