How to Grow Your Podcast 44% in a Year

How to Grow Your Podcast 44% in a Year

I’m coming in here today with a big flex. I don’t usually do this. I don’t usually flex a lot, but I gotta tell you, I think I’m going to start doing that more often. How do you grow your podcast 44% in one year? 

Maybe even more importantly, how do you grow a podcast 69% during a two-year period with a global pandemic, at a time where big tech has never been more volatile, at a time where more people are complaining about the algorithms on social media, that their marketing isn’t working, that what was working isn’t working anymore, and that they’re feeling so depleted, trying to figure it all out? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today because I am celebrating five years as a podcaster. 

Honestly, none of this is really possible without you, and that is what we are going to be talking about today. What you can learn from my experience putting out a consistent show that has grown 44% in the last year and is largely responsible for every sale that I make. That is the truth. 

Why I Started a Podcast

Now I want to go back to the Wayback Machine before I was the person who grew a podcast 44% in a year, because this really matters, and why I started the podcast in the first place.

I’m sure if you actually go back on my Facebook page, you can find some Facebook Lives I did when I was first starting this where I talked through things like why I was starting the podcast. From the very beginning, it was never necessarily about making sales. It was the long game. I knew it was going to be a long game. It was really for me to develop myself personally as a speaker, to develop my message, and to maybe one day have enough content here to compile a book at some point.

The realities were two things. 

One, I was terrified to pitch myself. The thought of pitching myself to other podcasts or for any PR just really collapsed my energy. I was just like, “You know what, I’m just going to be my own PR and I’m going to start a podcast.” Instead of taking the time, energy, and effort that felt so hard and heavy to go pitch myself, I was going to do something that felt a little lighter on my energy, which was oddly starting a podcast.

The immediate goal and result that I wanted from this podcast was to get me off of social media. I enjoy social media as a tool for connection and starting conversations. I don’t enjoy social media from the perspective of the things you have to do on social media to grow. Actually, I had said something to my team about growing our social channels in 2023 and they just all rolled their eyes at me. They’re like, “Oh, but you’re so anti-social media.” I’m like, “I’m not anti-social media. I’m anti the things, the hoop jumping that we have to do in order to grow.”

I think that there’s a real difference between what content will grow your social channel and what content you want to put out. I think that there’s absolutely an overlap between the two, where you are putting out the content that you want to put out and it’s creating growth, but also, there are things that I don’t want to do in order to necessarily grow my platform or I shouldn’t say I don’t want to do, that I’m willing to give it a shot.

I don’t know, we’ll see what happens in 2023, but the purpose of this podcast was to remove my reliance, and my need to be on social media, and immediately, the first immediate goal was to close my free Facebook group because that was not working for me. That felt just so draining and hard to show up in that place, to convert people to leads, and to fill it. It’s just like I’m putting in all this energy for this free Facebook group when I could be putting in a lot less energy, get a lot more use out of something, and make better sales, like convert more leads.

That is the podcast. We take this podcast, I create the podcast and then there are people behind me on the team that go and do things with the podcast to repurpose it and to use it in different ways. It gets chopped up and put on social media or we use it behind the scenes as additional content for The Bold Profit Academy because it all interrelates. My clients who have gotten the best results typically are in The Bold Profit Academy and are diligent, loyal listeners to the podcast. Shout out to all of you. Thank you.

That was really why I started the podcast. 

The first year we were running the podcast was in 2017.

We did it in seasons, and I made the decision to do it in seasons because I was testing it. 

Did I like it? 

Can I stay consistent? 

\What were the early results? 

I wanted to have some breaks in content creation. I was really hesitant and tentative. I was doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the podcast. I was editing, which was a disaster. Having it in seasons allowed me to give this a test and also give me the space needed to process the test and to have the time.

This was very much me doing it messy and doing it from a place of not really sure if this was going to work, not really sure what I wanted to see, and needed to get some data under me and to really ease into this. Also very early I made the decision that this was going to be a solo show, and let me tell you something, recording podcasts solo is a thing. It’s a whole thing.

One of the most common concepts that I hear from women is looking for a partnership, “Well, if I partner with somebody on this and if I partner with somebody on that and if I have a partner in my business and if I do it together.” Because we’re afraid to put ourselves out there, this was incredibly scary to do, you’ve probably heard me talk about it, but the podcast went live and then I crawled into bed and pulled the covers over my head for three days and was in between crying and trying to regulate my nervous system. It was like an epic vulnerability hangover.

The reason why I chose to go solo wasn’t to be torturous, but it was to build a level of comfort with my voice, expand my reach, and lean into my edge around my own personal growth. But interviews, I found managing interviews to be very complicated. With ADHD, I need the simplest path to the goal. I need the simplest path and that felt very complicated. 

This is this is a relationship-building tool for me. That’s what your marketing is. It’s a relationship-building tool. Whether it’s webinars, social media, a podcast, or blog, it’s about building relationships. I want you to be building a relationship with me. Then if a guest is in service to my relationship with you, then the guest comes on. That’s how I really choose the guests that I do have, which are very limited unless they are a client sharing their story so that all of you can really see what happens behind the scenes here and normalize what it looks like to be running a business.

Year two, 2018 is when I hired Stacey of Uncommonly More. 

What I want to say here is that I had been working on and off with Stacey, we talk about this all the time, but this is so important for me to continue sharing. I met Stacey probably in the end of 2014, beginning of 2015 when I was starting my business and we’d connected, we’d started building a relationship, and I was really attracted to her messaging around douchebag-free marketing because that is what I wanted.

I wanted to learn how to market and not be a douchebag. We would have calls that I paid her for, one off calls because that was all I can afford at the time, where she just held space and allowed me to process through what marketing for me looked like and what it didn’t look like, what I was seeing online, does that really work, and what’s the truth? There was a lot of Stacey allowing me to explore what would feel good for me in terms of my marketing and what wouldn’t, what that might look like, and steps that I could take.

But we were not working together on an ongoing consistent basis because that wasn’t where I was in my business yet. In 2018, which is now quite a few years later, business is about building long-term relationships, which is actually something that the online space does a terrible job at. They’ve really broken this whole concept of main street and the small-business community.

When I hired Stacey, we decided to take the show weekly, which made things actually a lot easier, and of course, it made it easier because she was here doing the production and the guidance of what was happening.

Going weekly from a content perspective made it easier, but I was also still figuring out what content should be here, what my message was, how I wanted to be talking to people, and how I wanted to be showing up. I’ve mentioned again a number of times that Stacey when she first came on, did a deep dive into my most popular podcast episodes and noticed that anything that spoke to money and mindset were the most popular episodes. I continued to resist that until like yesterday, a very long time.

Year three, around this time, everything changed for me on this podcast, and I’m going to tell you why. 

I read the Company of One by Paul Jarvis and he mentioned something in the book, that you need to be educating your customers. This is something that I had been dragging my feet on, stomping, tantruming about, and had a ton of resistance from my own emotional reasons.

Things like “I’m the expert, people should just know, why do I have to explain to them? Why do I have to spoon feed them what I do? I’m not going to prove myself after years of paying dues and building my career.” A lot of the traditional marketing advice out there didn’t make sense. But Paul said it in a way in a book that I really respected and it clicked. I started to align the podcast with the appropriate steps in my sales process. Meaning, yes, we give clear calls to action. But beyond that, we are putting out clear marketing messages that speak exactly to who we want to work with.

This entire podcast is a lead qualifier. 

You should be able to listen to this podcast and know that I’m talking to you or not, that you are a fit for The Bold Profit Academy or not. We’re making it very easy for you to self-select. We’re also normalizing and acknowledging pain points, which for me is a lot of how I want to nurture. I don’t want people coming into my programs because of FOMO or because of being made to feel shameful, or they’re bad or wrong, or there’s something broken about them.

We are speaking to the mindset and behavior shifts needed in order for our best fit clients to work with us, to solve the problem we solve. We are intentionally polarizing and speaking to things that we know won’t work well for a business owner or for us. This podcast is very much about seeding the energy of my business and seeding the energy of my work. We speak the solution being the frameworks that we teach, but we don’t give you the solution and the content is still valuable.

So many people think that they have, or they’ve been told, to teach to prove their credibility and that they have to give everything away for free. That’s not really how we roll here. That’s also not what we feel is valuable because I’ve said things on this podcast where some of you have taken them and have gone and implemented them and have not gotten great results because you don’t understand why I said what I said.

For example, I had a client case study on the show with Lisa Carpenter, I believe, and we were talking about how she uses paid discovery calls, paid consults to move people into one-on-one work. That is absolutely a viable strategy. I have a couple of clients using it for very specific reasons. But we didn’t talk about why we use that, why that worked for her, and what she needed to do to book those paid consults.

People decided, “Well, I want to get paid for my consults. I want to get paid for that.” They started charging for their consults and it didn’t really work as well because you didn’t have all of the strategy behind it. I’m very clear on this podcast that if you want the results that we show here, if you want the results that my clients get, if you want the results that I get, then we need to be working together.

We still add value even though we aren’t giving things away for free. It’s actually more valuable that we don’t teach you how to do it on the podcast and then let you go run amok. I can’t tell you how many times that I have given people free advice and they don’t act on it. There’s something about paying for the support and paying for the service that brings business owners into alignment and catalyzes their growth.

This podcast is incredibly valuable in the way that it helps you think about what your next steps are. It gives you a different perspective. It works by not shaming you, or embarrassing you about your journey. It helps you be validated and seen, which is actually incredibly important because it’s easy to feel completely gaslit by the marketing online. It happened to me the other day, I was like, “I’m really questioning my skills, my value, my strengths, my abilities because of this piece of marketing that somebody put out.” I was feeling really disoriented.

That’s why we also share a lot of stories and testimonials. 

Those stories and case studies speak to the credibility we have in solving the problem. We intentionally do this on the podcast so you can feel the energy in which I relate to my clients. Why? So you can decide if you want to work with us and be in that energy.

In these podcasts, you will also hear me addressing common sales objections, and as our listenership has grown, so has my mission and clarity around my message, my positioning, and my target audience. I hope that you can start to see how I’m aligning this with my sales process. Start conversations. Invite people to have conversations. Qualify your leads. Be very specific. Niche down on who you’re here to talk to.

That doesn’t happen in a 10-word sentence. That’s happening podcast episode after podcast episode after podcast episode, speaking to the problem, addressing objections. By the time people get on a call with me, on an enrollment call with me, it’s more so to be like, “Can you share with me if you think I’m the right fit? Do you see success in me? Do you see me being successful in your program, and how? Will this really work for me? Where do I pay?” That’s it. Those are the calls.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m actually doing these a lot of times in Instagram DMs, and even Voxer because people are finding they don’t even necessarily need to get on a call with me. They just need to be able to have access to ask me very specific questions. I’m wildly grateful for the time you take to listen and review this podcast. I’m deeply appreciative when you email me and give me your insights from a specific show because that’s what makes the content here better.

That’s what actually makes this a community even though we’re not in a Facebook group is when I can come in here and be like, “Hey, listen, this is what’s happening in my DMs, this is the overall vibe I’m getting from you when you email me. This is what’s happening behind the scenes that you’re not seeing because business owners aren’t talking about this in a forward-facing way.” But they’re sharing it with me because they trust me and then I can share it with you on a very high-level aggregate basis, never divulging somebody’s name or anything like that, but to help you feel less alone, which is actually a pain point for women small-business owners.

I really am grateful to all of you who have been here and have been a part of expanding my mission, expanding my audience, and expanding my work.

Year four of the podcast.

In 2020, I had a big come to Jesus moment with myself around this business and how I operate, especially in the online space, especially as somebody who talks about money, building businesses that profit, marketing, and sales, and I found myself colluding with the fuckery in ways that I was not comfortable with, which I’m going to touch on briefly here but I will expand on in future episodes because I think this is a really important conversation to have.

What was happening was by not speaking up about what I knew to be true about building a business, about business foundations, about the practical steps, about the order in which these steps need to happen, from my 20 years of experience in all different industries, I was complicit in the narrative that entrepreneurship is easy, that it is for everyone, that clear goals, direction, and vision could take a backseat to shiny marketing tactics, that anybody can be running a seven-figure business, that you should all want a seven-figure business, and that is just really perpetuating, what I see, as a sickness in this space.

Not speaking to the giant skill gaps I was seeing in business owners, not speaking out about the danger of the algorithms to the mental health of a business owner. I have even posted pictures of myself where I was in pink, I had crystals in my hand, and I was on a beach. These pictures were not me. This was me thinking that I had to be a certain way in order to be successful in my marketing.

Now I think twice before I even post a lifestyle picture or a picture of my kids, because many MLMs and web celebs skirt around these manipulative tactics and weaponize motherhood and having children, “See, I’m just like you, if I can do it with X amount of kids and a baby on my lap, so can you,” that’s not really the game that I want to play.

I don’t want you to see my life as an aspiration, I want you to aspire to live your own life. There’s a part of me that needs to share the behind-the-scenes because I think that’s helpful to help you expand your vision and to see what other options there are for you beyond what you’re seeing online. But it’s always from the place and the energy of don’t aspire to be me. Look at how I think and look at what my choices are and see how you might be inspired to make a different choice or an unconventional choice, because I think my choices are pretty unconventional.

I still have room to grow in the unconventional areas of my life but I do think that for the most part, I bucked the system and go against the grain. This podcast has transformed into a platform for my activism and my advocacy. 

The most recent year of the podcast.

In 2021, I looked at the people, the archetypes in the online business space. Whether you are in that space, adjacent to that space, or know somewhat of that space, I am telling you, we are all in those webs and those worlds. I have not come across a business owner who hasn’t opened a social media app and started to compare themselves to what they were seeing on that app.

We are all in collusion with it. Even if we haven’t taken some of those programs, or know those people, the prevalence of using social media for business has made this almost impossible for us to escape. I looked at the different archetypes and the culture and we have the web celebs. These are the people who got in at the very beginning. They could put $100,000 into Facebook ads. They had the privilege of putting $100,000 into Facebook ads, fill a Facebook group with 10,000 people, turn around and use psychologically manipulative tactics to make a million dollars pretty much overnight.

This is cronyism in the online space because they just continue to build on this getting in early, they’re still getting followers, they’re still finding people, they have the money now to even spend more money on ads, these are the people who are at the front of the plane.

Then we have B List web celebs, and these are the people who were the protege, that first-level protege and they’re out there doing the bidding of these people, regardless of ethics or integrity, or if this really works. I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt and say that they might not realize that they’re doing this and not every web celeb is sh*t and not every person who affiliates for a web celeb is shit, but I’m just saying that on a whole, in general, we know these personalities.

Then we have the C List web celebs who are a little further in proximity, a little further even in time from getting into this mix. They have completely drunk the Kool-Aid. They are desperate for attention and to be the next Marie or whoever. They’re very unsuccessful. They are very successful at losing all their money and telling you they’re not, or losing all their money, telling you they’ve lost all their money, but then still somehow convincing you that they’re the best person to help you build a successful business. I don’t even understand it to be honest.

Then you have the people who have drunk the Kool-Aid initially. If you go and you watch the cult videos, documentaries, especially on Nxivm and you’re in the room, and they’re explaining to you how Nxivm works, they start talking about how you’re going to wear a sash and there are these levels, and there’s this guy named Vanguard, you’re the person who are like, “I don’t know about this, this seems a little weird, but I can see that it’s working for other people so I’m going to give it a try.”

Maybe you level up a sash or two, or maybe you’re working your way closer to proximity to Vanguard who’s like the web celeb of Nxivm. Then you’re like, “Nope, nope, nope. This isn’t for me. This is getting creepier and creepier by the minute, I’m out.” You might have sipped the Kool-Aid, but then you’re like, “I’m out.” You’ve likely had some bad experience in leaving the program that you were in but then you become a really fierce advocate and supporter of making sure that nobody actually walks through the door of that initial meeting, and even hears about a sash.

Then we have the people who are alone, who feel adrift, and they feel like there is no place for them among the tactics that they’re seeing on the internet. They feel like a fish out of water. They feel really gaslit because they’re looking in and they’re like “I’m a sane, rational, logical person, and I don’t see how any of this makes sense. But everybody’s telling me it makes sense.” There is a tremendous amount of loneliness in that particular form of dissonance.

Here’s who I am here for, here’s who this platform is here for, here’s who my activism and my advocacy is here for. 

It is for the people who wound up getting that not-so-nice feeling in their tummy, that there’s something wrong with this environment that they’re in, they decided to listen to their gut, they were very brave, and they exited.

Despite what people want you to believe online, “What’s your mindset?” “The program didn’t work.” “Oh, you’re not doing the work. You’re lazy. You just don’t want it enough. You’re not hungry enough. You’re whatever,” I have spoken to enough of you to know that that is absolute f*cking trash.

I know enough to know that that is on the large part 80% trash because I’ve spoken to women who are incredibly grounded, who are incredibly kind, who have amazing self awareness, who have really good communication skills, who have tried to have the conversation about how their needs weren’t being met, about how what they were sold isn’t what they received, that they’re not delivering on a promise, that customer service feels not great, that they feel embarrassed and ashamed by the program owner, to fall on deaf ears, to be ignored, to then be harassed, bullied, rejected, exiled, and banished to a far-off land of a secret Facebook group where you coalesce with the rest of the people who were in that program who had the experience that you had to heal and support each other.

These are the people who I am here to platform for and advocate for. I would have never ever known that or figured that out if I didn’t have this podcast, if I didn’t create an opportunity to build a relationship with all of you, for you to communicate with me, for you to reach out in DMs for me, to share and to engage with you in that way, and for me to really look at where I might be colluding with the crap that I don’t want to see here.

This podcast is very much about me creating and leading a community that I need and that I want to say. Over the five years of going through this and feeling like my podcast downloads aren’t growing, nobody’s listening to me, nobody responds to my emails, nobody reaches out, nobody leaves me reviews, it has taken time and a lot of willingness to do market research which basically means listening to all of you, to hear what you’re saying, to speak about the things you want to talk about but don’t feel like you have the power to talk about instead of this podcast and my content being about me.

That is a big ass lesson for content creators, for people who want to use their content as a marketing tool, and who want to grow your podcast. 

It’s not about you. It’s about your people. It’s about the people who you cannot wait to work with, to support, and help get results. It’s about being all in on those people and creating something for them.

Here’s an example of what happens when you do that over time. Remember, this podcast started in 2017. A year after I decided to look at those archetypes, two years after I decided to start to unfuck my brain, and this business around the online-business culture, I will also tell you, there was a ton of Reiki and acupuncture to my throat chakra in the process, and a lot of fear around alienating people, not being liked, being canceled by the Internet, and scarcity, because if I speak this directly to people, to a specific person, then I’m going to lose all these potential people who would work with me.

After all of that, I received a podcast review, and I’m going to read it to you, so thank you to Sarah W who sent this in. She said, “Truth bombs about money and business you need to hear. Tara brings a refreshing reality check to the world of money and business that opened my eyes to what’s really needed to build a sustainable, profitable business. It was hard to absorb it first because I’ve been so brainwashed by the creative business and life you have hyperbole out there that it took me a while to accept the actual steps and skills I need to be as successful as an entrepreneur and a coach. Thank you for bringing truth with heart to the people who need it.”

Alright, that’s what I’m here for. I intentionally created that through this podcast. This is how you call in your best-fit clients. This is the power of the long game. This is the power of experimentation. This is the power of being willing to fail and get it wrong. This is the power of slowing down and listening to yourself and others. This wasn’t a random coincidence or a happy accident. This isn’t if you build it, they will come. This is an intentional design. This is marketing.

This isn’t an automatic notch in your credibility belt. 

You still need to communicate your legitimate bona fides and the value your service delivers. Creating and producing a high-quality podcast, one that people are wanting to listen to and return to time over time, requires time, energy, and money, tweaking, optimizing, and not starting something and then starting something else and then starting something else. Because every time you start over, whether it’s with a marketing strategy or a service that you’re selling, the clock goes back to zero. That is not an efficient use of our time or energy.

The name of the game is actually optimization. It’s in the details. It’s in the small, tiny tweaks over long periods of time that we find success. It’s that 1% that we’re looking for. I want to be really conscious of this and speak to this, while I likely make this look easy, it does take effort, time, and clear reasons that go beyond meeting clients now. This looks easy now because I’ve been doing it.

I remember when I first started, I started with a Snowball microphone, a Blue Snowball microphone. It sounded like a tin can. My husband would come home, he’d be like, “I listened to your podcast today. Do you know you sound like you’re in a tin can?” I would just collapse. I would collapse because it was just so uncomfortable to even be doing what I was doing, like the thought of it not being perfect was really activating.

It wasn’t perfect. For a really long time, it wasn’t perfect, and it’s still not perfect. Don’t make my five years in mean something about where you are right now. 

This podcast has become the engine of my business. 

It’s a digital business card on steroids. Small-business owners have this belief that leads only count if they come randomly through a hashtag, through an ad haphazardly that your son have found by more and more people.

They feel shameful that 90% of their business is word of mouth. When I ask people “How did you find my podcast? How did you find me?” I’ll say, “How do you find me” and they’re like, “Oh, through your podcast.” “And how’d you find my podcast?” Usually because someone has shared it, somebody has recommended it. It is a business card. It is word of mouth. “You should listen to this podcast. You should check out this woman.” That is a referral. There’s very little happening here by happenstance, by accident, by magic, by leads falling from the sky, by random randomness. There’s very little of that.

But it is a digital business card on steroids. It does all the heavy lifting in my sales process. So much so that I barely have to have discovery calls with someone unless they haven’t listened to the podcast. I had three discovery calls to people who hadn’t listened to the podcast in the last 90 days and I have decided I am not actually even getting on calls with people anymore unless they’ve listened to the podcast. Because it doesn’t work.

They’re not prepared for the kind of work that I’m here to do. It’s a waste of my time. They haven’t done the gnashing of the teeth, the mindset shift, the aha moments, and the perspective shifts that this podcast gives them so that they can successfully step into working with me. I don’t ever think about producing content per se because we just have a schedule. These podcasts go out once a week. It’s like clockwork. I show up, I say the things, I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better at not scripting them, just going off of an outline, and just riffing with you as I am doing here today. It gets easier and easier.

I don’t even think about whether am I nurturing my leads? Am I adding value? I just know. It’s happening. It happens every week on Tuesdays right here. This frees me up to connect, start conversations, and enroll people who are ready to join The Bold Profit Academy. It’s why I’m able to have enrollment calls, and honestly, me having them, not an enrollment representative, not a sales specialist, me having enrollment calls, voice message in Instagram, or Voxer me and we can chat it through in Voxer because all of the work is already done. By the time people are reaching out to me, they are already 90% sure they’re joining us.

The large majority of the people who joined The Bold Profit Academy in the last 90 days, I want to tell you, have commented exactly on the fact that they spoke to me and not an enrollment specialists or sales specialists because they’re hesitant based on the poor experiences that they’ve had. My entire business is designed with my best fit client in mind. None of this would be possible without this show, without those of you who refer people to the show, and without the marketing sales and money fundamentals we teach inside The Bold Profit Academy.

We teach you how to align your sales process with your customer decision journey, tying your content all together like I just walked you through how we do here on the podcast. I regularly break down my own content as a case study, show you the data, provide steps, guidance, and feedback so you can make it your own. This process has been tested across industries and across different size companies.

I’m not somebody who just works within a specific industry. I work with businesses in all kinds of different industries at all kinds of different sizes, all different revenue levels. For this reason, they are my testing ground so I can see what works and what doesn’t work. There is no light switch where you go from not enough revenue to more than enough revenue. A lot of times I hear people who are saying they’re not sure how to market. They want more consistent sales. They’re not sure what tools they should be using. They need to get their revenue up and they know they need to work with me but they need to get their revenue up.

There is no light switch where you go from not enough revenue to more than enough revenue. Delaying doing this work, delaying joining The Bold Profit Academy just delays the progress. If you’re interested, you are ready, and you want to reach out and talk to me, the best way to do that is to get on our waitlist. You’re going to get a personalized email from me within a certain amount of time from signing up from the email.

I don’t even know because sometimes it’s a day I send it out, sometimes it’s a week, and sometimes it’s a little longer because it’s actually me sending the email to connect with you and help you decide whether or not you want to join us. If you’re ready, if now’s the time if you’re done delaying your progress, get on the waitlist.

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