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Today I’m joined by my good friend Ben Toalson to talk about making time for podcasting.

Ben is the co-host of the seanwes podcast, a bi-weekly (twice a week) show about business and creativity. He is also the host of In the Boat With Ben, a weekly podcast on balancing family life with a creative pursuit.

On top of producing three podcasts per week (which are usually over an hour long each), he also supports his family with a video content marketing business he runs from home. Did I mention he has six boys? Insane.

In this episode, Ben shares his tips for managing time, why he makes time for podcasting, how podcasting is playing a huge role in his long term success, why you need to plan your time carefully if you want to make a great show every week, and more.

Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins

  • Starting a podcast is not an easy route to success. It’s a long-term investment in your future.
  • You have to say no to many things to create time for the important things.
  • Before you start podcasting, make a plan for what it’s going to take (in terms of time and money).
  • Longer episodes take more time, so be aware of that while planning out your shows.
  • If you don’t have a long-term plan with specific goals, it’s hard to know if podcasting will help you achieve your goals.
  • Regardless of how things actually turn out with your show, you have to think about it as a long-term investment. Don’t expect to see any returns or results for years.

Show Notes

  • 4:45 Aaron: You have six kids. What made you think you had enough time to do two podcasts per week with Sean McCabe?
  • 5:11 Ben: When I signed on for the show, we had a conversation about that. We considered switching to a single episode per week, but ultimately I decided that I really enjoyed the twice a week output. It really kept the topics top of mind for me, and I wanted to continue providing that experience for our audience.

When You Started Podcasting, What Were You Hoping to Get Out of It?

  • 6:14 Aaron: At the time, what made you decide to doing the seanwes podcast with Sean?
  • 6:17 Ben: There were a couple of things. 1. Sean is a good friend of mine, and we were already meeting and talking about business every week or so. He’s a fun guy to talk business with, so the idea of doing a podcast with him really appealed to me. I knew I was going to learn a lot and have a lot of fun.
  • 7:01 2. I love helping people, and I knew I could provide a voice that was coming from a different place than Sean. I can speak to people in a way that he can’t. So I saw an opportunity to help some folks. But I’ve also been learning a ton since I started doing the podcast. I can’t put a price tag on how valuable that it.
  • 7:34 Aaron: I know what you mean. I’ve learned a ton from the seanwes podcast. It completely changed my life and business. Everyone should be listening to that.
  • 8:10 Ben: So those were my big “Whys”, but there were a few other reasons. I knew it would expand my reach, my audience; so I could influence and help more people. Also, I’ll be producing courses and products for In the Boat with Ben, so I can share those things with the audience I have access to through the seanwes podcast.
  • 8:39 But that’s a really long term thing, so I want to make sure people understand that podcasting is not an easy path to overnight success. It’s an investment, it takes a lot of time.

Starting a podcast is not an easy route to success. It’s a long term investment in your future.

How Do You Make Time for Podcasting?

  • 9:02 Aaron: I’m curious to know how you make time for podcasting.
  • 9:14 Ben: I’ll talk about the seanwes podcast first, then about In the Boat With Ben. For seanwes, I have an arrangement with my wife, Rachel. I work half of the day while she watches the kids, then we high five and trade off; I watch the kids and she gets work done. Because of that, I have to get up a lot earlier to get things going, if I want to make progress and get work done before it’s time to podcast.

If You Want To Get More Done in Your Day, Wake Up Early

  • 10:04 Aaron: Waking up early is a great way to get a lot done. It’s been harder for me this winter, but last summer I was getting up around 5-6am every day and I was the most productive I’ve ever been. I get so much more real work done when I get up early.
  • 10:46 Ben: I feel the same way. When I work in the morning, it feels like I’m getting a jump start on the day. When I work at night, it feels like working after the day was already over and I just wasn’t as productive because I’d be tired, I’d just want to relax, read a book or watch Netflix. Waking up early to work is a completely different feeling.
  • 12:06 Aaron: It feels like playing offense instead of defense.
  • 12:10 Ben: That’s a good analogy, but in order for that to be possible, there were some things I had to sacrifice. I enjoy staying up and watching a tv show or movies, but I can’t really do those things if I know I’m going to get up super early to get my work done and still have time to do the podcast.

You Will Have to Sacrifice

  • 14:35 Ben: You just have to deal with the reality that there are things you’re going to have to sacrifice if you want to make something like podcasting possible in the midst of all your other responsibilities. Fortunately, my wife understood that doing the seanwes podcast is an investment in our future, and she saw the value that we’ll be getting out of it.

You have to say no to many things to create time for the important things.

  • 15:06 Ben: Also, coming on to the show as a co-host meant that I wouldn’t be responsible for any of the post-production work. I knew that I wouldn’t have to spend the time on editing, or show notes, or all the other things that you should do if you want to do a podcast really well.
  • 15:32 Aaron: I spend a fair amount of time preparing for my episodes, but post production (the way we do it on the seanwes network) is the most time consuming part of the process.

Making Time for In the Boat With Ben

  • 15:52 Ben: In the Boat With Ben is the podcast I do weekly with my wife Rachel. Since it’s a show we do together, we had to figure out a way to do the show while also making sure we weren’t interrupted by our kids.
  • 16:43 When we first started doing the show, all six boys were home for summer break. We actually hired a baby sitter to watch the boys downstairs while we recorded the podcast upstairs. Now that the oldest boys are back in school, we record the podcast while the youngest boys are taking a nap. That’s really the only way we can do the show without interruptions.

Post-Production Takes a Lot of Time, Hire Help If You Can

  • 18:08 Aaron: A theme I’m seeing here is that sometimes you need to hire help to get your podcast done.
  • 18:22 Ben: Even though I’m the host of In the Boat With Ben, since it’s a part of the seanwes network, I don’t have to do most of the post-production. Sean hired you to do the editing, and we have help with the show notes. I spend about five hours a week on the show, and if you include editing, show notes, and all the other admin work, it’s probably close to 15 hours of work for each episode.
  • 20:16 You don’t necessarily have to spend that much time of each episode, but I agree with what Sean says about the long-term benefits of putting out a high quality podcast consistently. I wanted all of those things for my show, but without help from the network, we wouldn’t have been able to start when we did.
  • 20:58 It would have taken longer to get the show going without that help. I would have had to either save up some money to hire help, or got myself to a place when some of my other expenses were covered so that I could free up some time to work on the podcast.

Make a Plan for Sustainable Podcasting

  • 21:15 Ben: If you’re thinking about starting a podcast; regardless of the level of detail and quality that you want to put into post-production, you’re probably underestimating how long it will take.

Before you start podcasting, make a plan for what it’s going to take (in terms of time and money).

  • 21:44 Ben: There’s a financial investment to get the gear needed to get a show started, but there’s also a time investment. Setup yourself up for success by coming up with a plan, and don’t start too soon if it’s not something you’re going to be able to sustain. It was possible for us to start and sustain our release schedule because we had help.

Longer Shows Take More Time to Produce

  • 22:34 Aaron: Most of the shows on our network are around an hour long. Editing and writing detailed show notes for hour-long shows is extremely time consuming. If you’re going to do the post-production work yourself, there are things you can do to save time. You can do shorter episodes. You can skip featured images. You can write a simple description for each episode instead of detailed show notes.

Longer episodes take more time, so be aware of that while planning out your shows.

  • 23:48 Ben: If you can afford to hire help, that’s great and it will definitely free up time for you, but there are benefits to doing that work yourself, even if it’s just for awhile at the beginning. One of the biggest things I got out of doing editing and writing was learning how to be a better communicator. Listening back gave me a chance to hear myself talk and helped me see what things I could do to improve my speaking skills.

Know Your Goals For Your Podcast

  • 25:04 Aaron: Sean said something in the chat that I want to bring in. He said that the reason he’s investing so much time and money into podcasts and hiring people is that he’s thinking very long term. He’s playing the long game; he doesn’t expect to see returns on his investment for another 5-10 years.
  • 25:23 You need to figure out what your goals are. If you don’t know what success looks like for you, how are you going to get there?

If you don’t have a long term plan with specific goals, it’s hard to know if podcasting will help you achieve your goals.

  • 25:44 Ben: Success for me is a couple of different things. Mainly, it’s about being able to help people. I’ve gotten some incredible feedback from people who have been helped by the seanwes podcast, and to me, that’s enough. The icing on the cake is growing my audience so that eventually I can share books and online courses that add value to my audience member’s lives. I believe that podcasting is a good long term investment if you look at it as a way to grow your audience.

Q&A

  • 39:18 Cory Miller asked: Do you think it’s ok to do a podcast just for your own enjoyment?
  • 39:29 Aaron: There’s nothing wrong with that at all. The problem is if you’re expecting to make money or grow an audience without thinking about the value you’re providing to your audience. Just because you enjoy doing something doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a way to make money doing it.
  • 39:45 Ben: It really depends on what your goals are. My main goal is to help people. I’m podcasting to grow an audience that I can then sell helpful products to in the future, but my main goal isn’t to get rich so I can travel the world. Let’s use golfing as an example; many people play golf because they enjoy it, but not everyone is trying to be a pro golfer and make a living from it.
  • 41:02 Steve asked: How do you stay motivated when you’ve been doing a show for awhile but you haven’t seen results or traction yet? It’s hard to make time when I’m pretty sure I won’t see a return right away.
  • 41:15 Ben: That goes back to your goals and your main “why”. Because podcasting is such a long term investment, you’ve got to think about it that way.

Regardless of how things actually turn out with your show, you have to think about it as a long term investment. Don’t expect to see any returns or results for years.

  • 42:18 Aaron: Think about your main “why”, and ask if podcasting is going to help you achieve your long term goals. Think in years instead of weeks or months.
  • 42:50 Cory asked: How far in advance should I schedule out my time? Is there more success in long-term scheduling, or in short-term flexibility?
  • 43:14 Ben: In order for Rachel and I to record our show every week, we have to schedule and block out that time in advance and it has to be the same time every week. We can’t just say, “Oh, we’ll just see how the week goes and see where we can fit it in.” That doesn’t ever work. That’s true even if you don’t have kids. Things that you don’t schedule and block out time for are less likely to happen than the things that you do.

If you want to follow Ben, you can find him on Twitter @bentoalson or check out IntheBoatWithBen.com.