Hi there! My name is Aaron Dowd. This show is for anyone who wants to make a great podcast. If you're interested in learning how to start a podcast, grow an audience, or improve at all the various skills that are a part of being a podcaster, this show is for you. In this trailer episode, I'm going to share my back-story and talk about why I decided to start this podcast, who this show is for, and what topics I’ll be covering in future episodes.
Hi there! My name is Aaron Dowd. This show is for anyone who wants to make a great podcast.
If you're interested in learning how to start a podcast, grow an audience, or improve at all the various skills that are a part of being a podcaster, this show is for you.
In this trailer episode, I'm going to share my back-story and talk about why I decided to start this podcast, who this show is for, and what topics I’ll be covering in future episodes.
I'm a podcast producer and editor from Fort Worth, Texas. I started helping people make podcasts back in 2013. I was a full-time editor, producer, and consultant for a small podcast network and a bunch of independent shows for several years before joining Simplecast in late 2017 to be their customer success lead.
My job for the past 6 years has basically been to answer questions and help people make great podcasts.
I started this podcast in 2015 to share everything I'd learned about podcasting. After producing 75 episodes, I took a break to finish a couple of online courses about podcasting called Successful Podcasting, Logic Pro X for Podcasters, and GarageBand for Podcasters.
As I'm recording this trailer episode in September of 2019, I've actually already published 80 episodes about a wide range of topics related to podcasting, including:
Most of these episodes were recorded between 2015 and 2017, when I was working as a podcast editor and producer for my friend Sean McCabe.
While a lot of the advice and tips I shared in these episodes are still helpful, a lot has changed in podcasting since I recorded them, and I've improved as a podcaster as well, so I'm going to re-write and re-record a lot of these episodes.
I hope you find my podcasting journey helpful and inspiring (remember, you don't have get everything perfect the first time).
My story really starts with music. My mom is a classically trainer singer who also plays guitar and piano, she taught me (and my siblings) how to sing and gave us piano lessons when we were very young, and I started learning how to play drums when I was 12. Pretty soon after that I decided I wanted to be a professional drummer, but I wasn’t sure how to make that happen or if I could even make any money with it.
As I got into my late teens and into my college years, I didn't really have a plan for how to achieve my dreams, so I ended up just kinda drifting for awhile, working lame jobs and wasting a lot of time and money.
I woke up one day when I was 21 and realized I hated the life I had, so I decided I'd make a big change, set some goals, and start pursuing my dreams. I wanted to be in a band and tour, but I knew that most musicians don’t make much money, and I didn't have much money, so I wasn't sure what to do.
I had started working in an automotive parts factory around that time, but the work sucked and didn't pay much, and I didn’t want to be broke my whole life. I got the idea in my head that I could find a job I could do on a laptop so that I could make money while traveling with a band.
So in my early twenties, I googled "how to make money from a laptop". I found some articles about how it was possible to start a web design business and work from anywhere, so I started trying to learn how to be a web and graphic designer. I discovered podcasts around this same time too, and started listening to shows like Radiolab and This American Life, but also independent shows about business and marketing and web design and audio engineering, all kinds of interesting shows. This was all between about 2009 and 2012.
Podcasts played a huge role in my self-education because I could listen to shows while working, driving, or doing chores. I was learning valuable things constantly and being introduced to ideas and potential opportunities I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
Around this same time, I also started studying audio engineering. Being a musician, I was interested in recording, mixing and mastering because I wanted to make demos for my bands.
I started a podcast with some friends I met on a now defunct social network called App.net (the show was called Social Converse). I knew the most about working with audio, so I volunteered to be the editor, and that’s where I learned how to record audio, get audio from all the co-hosts, edit it together, and get it published in an RSS feed and out into the podcast apps/directories.
Around that same time, I noticed that a lot of my favorite independent podcasts didn't have terribly great audio quality. There was a show I really liked called the Shoptalk Show. Back then, they were recording their Skype conversations and using the raw audio from that for their podcast. This was a pretty common practice back in 2012, and is actually still pretty common.
There would occasionally be problems with their audio (levels all over the place, dropped calls, stuff that could have been edited out). I really liked the show and thought I could help, so I sent them an email and said, “I'm a big fan, and I’d like to help you by taking over the editing for the show. If you can get everyone on the call to record a track on their computer and send the files to me afterwards, I’ll put them all together, so some editing and mixing, and make it sound good.”
They agreed and even offered to pay me a little bit of money for each episode (which was super exciting for me). So that was really the start of my career as a podcast editor and producer.
Around the same time I started working with the Shoptalk Show guys, I saw a job posting on Authentic Jobs from Dan Benjamin (founder of the 5by5 network) who was looking for an audio engineer for his podcast network. That planted a seed in my mind: Maybe podcast editing could be a full-time, remote job for me. (I didn't get the job then, but I did end up editing shows for 5by5 for awhile in 2014.)
I had also joined a band around that same time, so I was traveling around, playing shows, working weird hours and filling all my free time either listening to podcasts or editing them.
The guys from the Shoptalk Show kept referring people interested in starting podcasts to me, so I had a few more weekly clients and I was answering a lot of questions about podcasting and helping people start shows.
I really enjoyed helping people make podcasts and answering questions, but I got tired of writing responses to the same questions over and over, so I put up a page on my personal website offering podcast editing services and also wrote a few blog posts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. After a few months, my site showed up in the #1 on Google if you searched for “Podcast Editor”. That brought more questions, but also more clients.
I started getting more and more podcast editing clients, and eventually I had enough to quit the day job I'd landed a few months before as a junior front-end web developer.
All this happened between about 2010 and early 2014. Around that time, I met a hand lettering artist from San Antonio who wanted to start a podcast network and online community for artists and entrepreneurs. I ended up helping him start a show and a small podcast network, and that was around the time I started this show too. A few years later, I joined my favorite podcast hosting company, Simplecast, to help them with customer support, education, and more.
You'll be able to hear the original episodes of this show until I re-record them and replace them with new versions, but the original versions of all the episodes are available at https://seanwes.com/podcastdude-archive/.
If you want, you can go listen and hear what I sounded like when I was first getting started with podcasting. You can also check out all the original show notes I made as well.
Anyways, that's a not so quick introduction to me. Thanks for listening!
You can check out thepodcastdude.com/episodes to see a full list of the available episodes for this show.
If you have a question that I haven't answered in one of those episodes (or if you just want to say hi and introduce yourself), you can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a voicemail at 8173818219, or drop a comment on my YouTube channel.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the show, and happy podcasting.
September 2, 2019