Hello! Today, I have a great guest post from Melanie. She started a business as a podcast virtual assistant and talks about how you can too.
I’m Melanie Scroggins – voice actor and podcast producer. I currently live in Austin, TX with my husband and two fur babies.
I’ve been working in audio production for almost three years, and what started as a fun hobby, turned into a lucrative side gig that gave me the confidence to leave my last job and turn podcasting into a business.
At this point in my journey, I work part-time on podcasts. But when I was working on podcasts full-time, I usually worked with three clients (10-12 hours a week per show) and brought in over $3,000 a month. Now that I work on podcasts part-time (about 10 hours a week) I bring in an average of $1,500 a month.
Working as a Podcast VA allowed me the flexibility to quit my full-time office job and pursue what I believe to be my calling. I have continued to work as a Podcast virtual assistant because I love the work and the industry – there is always something new to learn!
Every day at my job was the same.
Fluorescent lights buzzing. Fingers clacking on keyboards. Phones ringing. People chatting… constantly.
I’d go in, get my work done and then I’d go home.
Hundreds of thousands of people manage to do this every day. And for a long while, I was one of them.
But I repeatedly found myself asking, “Why isn’t this working for me?”
When I finally sat down to talk it out with my husband, I realized the problem.
I didn’t want to work for anyone else.
It was as simple as that. I wanted to work for myself and our family, have creative freedom, and lots of flexibility.
I wanted to create a work life I was proud of – doing something I actually wanted to do every day.
Work on my terms.
It Was Me, Not Them
I wish I could tell you that my exit from corporate happened in a dramatic flair; the company went out of business and we were all laid off.
Or that I was so poorly treated that I had no choice but to leave. (Oh the drama!)
I really wanted to believe that it was them – not me.
But that wasn’t the truth. It was me. When
I struggled to be okay with the fact that I wasn’t forced out of my office job. Deciding to leave meant choosing something unknown and that felt scary to me.
I only knew that the “nine to five” world wasn’t for me.
The only question was, what was?
A Newfound Love for Audio Production
My husband and I had some adventures after I stepped away from my desk job.
We were living in an RV in a remote part of the coast of Oregon, when I really started to experiment with creativity and flexibility in my work.
At that point, I had been freelance writing for a couple of outdoor companies but I still found myself with a lot of extra time.
I decided to start interviewing other female business owners and adventurers who were doing things differently.
I ordered a mic that could be set up at the RV diner table, downloaded some free software, learned some basic audio editing, and then set up interviews with other female business owners and friends.
It wasn’t long after I started creating and sharing my own content that friends, and friends of friends, began reaching out about how I could help them launch a podcast for their own businesses.
Starting My Podcasting Business
Fast forward to the spring of 2018. With minimal help and very little know how, I began to build a podcast support business.
I’ll be honest, it took me a while to trust that I had a good thing going. There were many times that I truly believed that I wasn’t going to make it. At one point, I ended up at another office job once we’d settled down again in Texas.
I was so afraid to dive in 100%.
But, I continued working at my little business. Every evening after my 9-5, I’d worked on a few client’s shows.
After about four months of consistent client work, I gained the courage to quit my office job (again). It was time to expand and take myself (and my goals) seriously.
I had a long way to go to build my portfolio and make enough money to support my family, but I was convinced that I had the skills to make a living doing audio production.
About a year later, I was making well over what I was making in my last office job. And guess what?
I was happier. So much happier.
Today, I am working for myself.
I now have the freedom for which I’d been searching for. And I’ve had it for nearly two years already! Somebody pinch me…
I have the flexibility to work or travel whenever I want to – my life and business on my terms and it feels good.
Okay, okay, so I wanted to work for myself and I’d tried my hand at audio production. Big whoop, right?
The real question is: why did I stick with podcasting?
With over two MILLION podcasts out there (and this number’s increasing daily), you’ll find there is a lot of promise in offering podcasting services to clients, and that’s exactly what I realized.
I initially started by creating a personal podcast, but I quickly became aware that podcasting is something a lot of businesses were interested in pursuing.
And it makes sense, right?
Podcasting allows small businesses to create a more personalized and intimate experience with their audience, which is a great way to approach the marketing idea, Know, Like, Trust.
When people reach out to you and ask how you can help them, that’s a pretty good sign that service is in demand.
Is Becoming a Podcast Producer Right for You?
Let’s get something out of the way real quick – there is nothing perfect about work, ever.
Just like there is nothing perfect about life. There are still tough projects, frustrating client experiences, and lots of work to do.
But it’s not about things being perfect. It’s about being honest with yourself and pursuing your calling – whatever that may be for you.
For me, that thing was and is audio production. I love everything about it – editing, mixing, publication, distribution. It hits all my needs, and incorporates a good mix of my analytical and creative skill sets.
But you might be entirely different.
One of my favorite things about becoming a Podcast Producer is that there are so many variations of the role. And business owners need all of them!
Why Business Owners Hire Podcast Producers
One of the reasons clients prefer to outsource their podcast work to freelancers or remote podcast producers is because they simply don’t have the time, desire, or know how.
Their podcast is just one more line item on their very crowded agenda. But that’s good news for us!
There are so many different services you can potentially offer clients. Including (but certainly not limited to):
- Audio editing
- Marketing and promotion
- Show note creation
The list goes on!
No matter your skill set, there is something you can likely offer.
If helping small businesses with their podcasts is something you’ve thought about doing, here are five services you could offer clients as well as what you could potentially earn.
1. Audio Editing
This is a particular skill that many clients don’t know how to do or want to do. They’re busy working on their businesses and simply don’t have the time or skills.
If you’re interested in learning how to edit audio, YouTube has a ton of awesome videos on audio editing. If you’re worried about the cost, you can get started today – Audacity is free and great for editors at any level.
Potential Earnings – $50-125/episode
2. Project Management
Yes, project management! A podcast project manager or PM works in the same capacity as a regular PM, they just work on podcast specific projects.
Project managers offer an invaluable service to clients helping them manage production, team members, and content scheduling.
Have a background in project management? Even better!
Potential Earnings – $30-75/hour
3. Guest Management
If a client is interested in interviewing people for their podcast, guest management is a critical skill set they need to have (or hire out).
Your job would be to connect with potential guests, be sure they have everything they need for the interview, and touch base with them after the interview.
This role is especially important because you’re guest facing and representing your client’s business. If you have experience in customer service or administration work, this would be an awesome service for you to offer.
Potential Earnings – $25-40/hour
You’ve seen this word a gazillion times before, but it’s because marketing is essential to a business’s success and that is also true for the success of a podcast.
Offering this service can make a good podcast an even better podcast. Getting in front of the right people can create unique opportunities for your clients and provide valuable resources to people who are looking for exactly what your client is offering.
If you have a background in marketing, marketing for podcasting is a huge portion of the industry and could provide you with all kinds of potential business.
Potential Earnings – $50-70/hour
5. Content Repurposing
When a podcast is published consistently for a substantial period of time (i.e. six months to a year), oftentimes, it’s a good idea to repurpose content, or, reuse and redistribute content that has already been made in different ways.
Have you ever seen an audiogram or sound bite? Those images with a wave form or quote over an image of a person? This is one small example of content repurposing that is used to promote a podcast.
A large enough show has a dedicated team of people constantly utilizing bits and pieces of older podcast episodes and churning out fresh and updated content.
If you have a background in social media or design, you could offer this much needed service.
Potential Earnings – $25-40/hour
This All Sounds Exciting, But Where Do I Start?
Some of you may be excited about the prospect of starting your own podcasting support business while others of you might be shaking in your boots thinking, “I was really excited, but now I’m overwhelmed!”
Don’t worry. I’ve been there too.
I spent tons of time learning tactics for audio editing, keeping up-to-date with the latest and greatest in marketing, and figuring out distribution; all on my own. It was certainly going the long way around for my ultimate goal; flexibility and creative freedom.
All the knowledge I gained was so valuable! But to be honest, I wish someone was there to help me get from point A to point B more quickly.
The Fastest, Easiest Way to Become a Podcast Producer
We created Podcast Production School to help people learn to master the skills and strategies needed to launch, manage, and grow podcasts for small businesses.
Our goal was to put together everything you need to bridge the gap from where you are now, to offering your first service and earning your very first paycheck as a Podcast Producer.
You Can Start Now!
In the beginning, I felt like there were so many questions and barriers to moving forward. And so we’re going out of our way to remove as many as we can for you!
I hope my story was an inspiration. Dive into the workbook and explore what’s going to work best for you!
But before I go… which of the five services above resonates with you the most and why? Chime in via the comments below! Are you interested in finding podcast virtual assistant jobs?