Scaling Your Service-Based Biz

This is such a tricky topic. You'll hear so many folks tell you that you must have a product, services aren't scalable. I don't think you have to live and die by that rule. Take for example advertising agencies. They provide services and they are scalable: you have your directors, then your account execs, account managers, assistant account managers. There's also the admin staff who keep the place running and the creatives from directors to senior copywriters to senior graphics to junior levels. That's a scalable business model, you can see it being done around the world. I've been a part of that world and it's certainly shaped how I do business and how I intend to build Show Notes Made Easy. Eventually I'll hire an editor who will know how the notes should sound for every show and they'll be able to handle the edits that come in from our senior and junior show notes writers. The editor - aka the creative director - will oversee the show notes work of the two groups. And I would be the CEO who oversees the whole kit-n-caboodle, and directs us in where we go right now and in the future. Right now that's what the market is telling me it wants: I get more requests for my services than I do for my product. People want to hand me their podcast files and let me handle getting the show notes done. If they can't afford me I recommend buying Show Notes Made Easy and hiring a VA to do their notes, but by and large people would prefer to be...

Fear: Why Bother?

Working on the shows that I do I often hear guests and podcasters alike talking about fear. Face your fear, challenge your fear, punch it in the face, etc (ok maybe not that last one but you get the idea). But why should we bother? It's really that important to face your fear? No. Not if you want what you have today to be what you have tomorrow, and the day after, and the month after, and the year after and the decade after. If you're ok with today being the rest of your life then there's no need to face your fear. But if you want to change things up, throw a little wrench into your monkey business then yep you've gotta have a sit-down with fear, a little meet and greet if you will. When you do remember this: facing your fear isn't about never hearing from it again. Oh no! Your fears will come back. They're like that ex you can't get to go away permanently or those Facebook ads that follow your every move online: they're just there and always will be. The sooner you know this and make peace with it, the easier your fear-facing process is going to be. I'm writing about this because I used to think that if I just made one more cold call (I was building a network marketing business at the time), talked to one more stranger (I'm quite introverted) and went on just one more date (as of writing this I've been single for quite awhile), my fears would go away. Well news flash kids: they never...

Formatting Your Show Notes

One of the things I've seen change in my last year of writing show notes is the format. Some podcasts want in-depth notes, while others prefer to use quick summaries and multiple bullet points. And still others use a combination of the two. There are many other styles. If you look at what Tim Ferris is doing you'll see he does a bit of a summary and a LOT of bullets. Not the kind of bullet points I write, but simple statement style bullets with a time stamp. I don't get this style at all, do people like reading these notes? I don't, it's an eyesore IMO. But they must work because Tim uses them. Personally there is only one thing I know for sure about show notes format: there is no one-size-fits-all! How you want to use your show notes is what will determine your ultimate choice in formats. If you simply want a bit of info up for your listeners then you'll go the simple route with a paragraph or two and maybe some bullets. If you want to use your show notes as an additional marketing tool then you'll want to get with more in-depth notes, perhaps some time stamps for really crucial items and several points explained in the notes. These will be the kind of show notes you can use to email your list, perhaps to craft into an ebook later or you can pull out a few points and use those points as social media updates later. It all boils down to what you want to with your notes, what your intention is. So...

How to Stay Focused When Working From Home

One of the things people ask me more often than not (right after they ask what show notes are and, in some cases, what a podcast is) is how I can work from home. How do you avoid all the distractions and get your work done? What they mean is how do I not just sit on my couch and watch TV all day? The answer is never what people want to hear. It's simple: discipline. There are plenty of days I feel like doing nothing, but nothing doesn't pay the bills. And frankly nothing isn't very rewarding. A work week finished, and a dozen or more episodes completed feels pretty good. Plus I typically am taking steps to make Show Notes Made Easy scalable so I can add a few notches to that belt as well. But on those days when I have no motivation and no pep, I have to reward myself along the way. Usually it's with chocolate, I'm not gonna lie. But other days it is with reruns of Law & Order (SVU seems to be the only one that's still on at least consistently). Still other days it's with a trip to one of my favorite local coffee shops, or the library or the nearby gorgeous Balboa Park. And some days it takes all of the above! It isn't that I don't love what I do, I definitely enjoy writing show notes, it's just that I need to break up my routine and add some variety to my days. It's easy to fall into a rut when you work from home, whatever you do. Now...

Should You Work for Free?

If you're going out on your own for the first time or are new to writing show notes, you might consider working for free. But should you? And what if a new client approaches you and asks you to do an episode for free? I've faced all of these scenarios and I have never worked for free. I once agreed to a discount when someone asked, but I don't offer them and I doubt I'd ever agree to a discount again. Not because it was a bad experience, it was great and the person I gave the discount to is a client as of the day I'm typing this, but simply because my time is too precious to be given away for nothing. The one and only time I can agree to possibly working for free if you approach a prospective client. Say it's a big name podcaster and they'd be an amazing coup for you - then go for it! Even better - find a set of their show notes and rewrite them for them...then send the rewrite to them as a gift. Tell them you love their show and include some reasons why. It's even better if you can tell them some actions you've taken as a result of listening to them, all the hustlers love action-takers because it shows you're one of them. And then as a token of your appreciation, give them the rewritten notes for an episode you particularly loved. Let them know they are welcome to use the notes if they like them, explain how much you normally charge for what you did and that...

Show Notes: What To Include?

If you’ve been in the podcasting world for awhile you know what show notes are and you know there are various versions of them. Some people like to include bullet points with time stamps of when certain topics are covered. Other people like transcriptions (which in my opinion are not show notes, they are transcriptions) and yet others want their show notes to be an informative yet enticing marketing piece. I deal in the latter, my show notes are a summary of the show with one or two main points pulled out and shared with the audience. The audience receives valuable content and they also can find out if they want to listen to that particular episode. Of course we always want them to listen to every show so the show notes are meant to entice them to do so. I usually wrap up with a sentence or two about the other topics discussed on the show that are NOT mentioned in the show notes. The idea behind that is to pull the reader in and make them want to download the epi and hear the rest of the show. Here’s an actual break down of a set of show notes I recently did, I’ve made a note next to each section so you can see what I include. It’s up to you if you want to do the same or some variation of this. If you’ve got a shorter podcast you can get away with shorter show notes, fyi. 🙂 This is for episode 377 of The Art of Charm (you can find their episodes here). My comments are...
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