On January 1st, 2016, I launched the Dreams In Drive: No Parking - a weekly podcast that teaches creative and lifestyle entrepreneurs how to take their dreams out of PARK and put them into drive. I remember the dread I felt before launching. Will anyone listen? Will people enjoy my guests? Do I sound silly?
It amazes me that I'm now twenty one episodes in and have interviewed people I admire like Tiffany “The Budgetnista Aliche", Sakita Holley, Olori Swank, Teri Johnson, Christina Brown. I marvel at how seven months ago, I knew NOTHING about launching a podcast and now have a pretty solid system in place. Now the podcast can be streamed via Soundcloud and iTunes. While I'm still growing, and am not 100% satisfied with my current numbers, I make sure to remember that none of this would have been achieved if I didn't start.
If you're thinking about starting a podcast, here are 10 lessons I've learned along the way that may help you on your own journey into launching your own podcast:
You don't need a lot of money to get started.
A lot of times we use the fact that we don't have a big budget as a hindrance to getting started. When I launched, I bought a $40 AudioTechnica microphone and used Garageband on my Macbook Pro for editing. I opted for the FREE Soundcloud service for my first episodes but upgraded to a monthly pro pricing ($15/month) as I grew and wanted more flexibility and statistics. No excuses. However, if you want to grow, start budgeting early-on for the tools that you will need to invest in later.
Don't skip the technical.
Before you launch, take some time to understand what podcasting is and some of the more technical aspects of launching. One of my favorite crash courses was John Lee Dumas's, creator of popular podcast Entrepreneur On Fire, online tutorial “The Ultimate Guide To Podcasting". He currently generates over $250,000 a month in revenue from his podcast. Also, take time to know your competition and get a lay of the land before launching. CURLS CEO Mahisha Dellinger told me early on, “It's okay if you're the third one to market. You can do your research on those companies, launch, and do better than they did. Do what they didn't do well and you can take over that market."
Invest in a podcast site.
As a marketer, blogger, and freelance writer, I understand the importance of having a “home" for your podcast. Because I want to eventually grow Dreams In Drive into a larger entity, I needed a core place that I was driving traffic to and that I could acquire data about the users that visited my page via Google Analytics. I wanted it to be a “destination" that had other resources and information. Now, people know that by going to dreamsindrive.com, they will be able to get everything they need in one place.
When starting, commit to a schedule. As you grow your following, people will want to know that if you say you're weekly, they can come back weekly and find a new episode. People get excited and will anticipate next week's episode. Think about how you feel as you wait for your favorite TV show to air each week. It's the same concept for podcast. Leverage that feeling.
Have a clear focus/niche when starting out.
“Don't try to be everything to everyone" is probably the best advice I got from one of my podcast guests. The focus of your podcast should be very clear. Ask yourself: What is my expertise?What is my target demographic? What problem am I helping them solve? What will be the focus of each episode? Personally, focusing on providing motivational content for creatives & lifestyle entrepreneurs has allowed me to grow an engaged audience. It also helped me focus on WHO would be coming to speak on the show and WHO I would be promoting the show to. Your branding should be specific.
Distribution & creative promotion is key.
When you're just starting out (and aren't already a well-established name in your industry), promoting your podcast will be hard. Think: Who can you partner with? What other podcasters can you ask to share your episodes? What types of content can you create that link back to your podcast? For example, each time I release a new episode, I publish a post on dreamsindrive.com, ranacampbell.com and my Linkedin pages that all contain the podcast embed link. I use “Click to Tweet" to create tweetable quotes on the site. Sometimes I'll create podcast-related content and post on the Huffington Post contributor platform. On social, I create podcast-specific show graphics and quotes using social. Some podcasters even use paid ads to promote specific episodes. In the beginning, you must put on your “hustler of the year" hat and hit the streets guerilla-style.
Make booking & sharing easy for your guests.
I learned early on booking and podcast promotion can be a pain, so I decided to look for tools that would ease that process. For booking, I use Calendly, a tool that allows guest to schedule appointments based on your calendar availability. When an episode goes live, I always send guests an email that contains share links that I create using Share Link Generator. Getting guests involved in promotion is key to your success early on. I use Streak, an email plugin, to create email templates so that I don't have to reinvent the wheel each week. I also use Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule weekly social posts.
Create & document your process.
Write down every step of what is involved in producing an episode. Use this to create a mini-checklist that you can follow each week. If you're producing and editing by yourself, this will help to make sure that you don't miss a step. While making one can be a pain, this standard operating procedure will come in handy as you grow and hand off different responsibilities to team members. Stream-line as much as you can.
Create your signature statement/be unapologetically YOU.
A podcast is a great platform to let your personality shine. What will be that thing that sets your podcasts apart? What is it about you that your readers will love? Take some time to hone your voice. While it can be smart to look at other podcasts as inspiration, do not use them as the blueprint for what you should do on YOUR show. Also, don't be afraid to talk about real issues. Give it to them. Also, create a "signature." On my podcast, the first question and lightning round sets me apart from other podcasts in my space. It's something I do each week and guests love listening in to hear the answers.
You don't have to have it all figured out to get started.
Many times, we don't start driving because we're too worried about the road ahead. As my guest Olori Swank said best, “Jump and build your wings on the way down." When I launched, I didn't (and still don't) have a “logo" in the formal sense of the word, but I didn't let that stop me. The legacy you are working to build should be what drives you. The best thing you can do is get the ball rolling and figure it out along the way. Define what success means for you and believe in it.
To be honest, there are days when I doubt myself. Why don't I have more listeners? Sometimes when I think "progress" isn't happening fast enough, I remember the little Rana who was so filled with dreams, the little Rana who would make up stories about the future Rana she hoped to be. I sit and think about how proud she would be of the Rana I am now, and then I tell myself: Keep going. Don't stop. Stay focused. Dreaming got you here. Doing will take you where you need to go.
What are some creative projects you've been afraid to take a leap with? What's stopping you? Share with us below.
Rana Campbell is a 2013 Princeton University graduate, marketing consultant, freelance writer/blogger, Dreams In Drive podcast host that helps creative learn how to build brands that SHINE in the business world. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or ranacampbell.com.
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Rana Campbell is a Princeton University graduate, storyteller, content marketing strategist, and the founder and host of Dreams In Drive - a weekly podcast that teaches you how to take your dreams from PARK to DRIVE. She loves teaching others how to use their life stories to inspire action within oneself and others. Connect with her on Instagram @rainshineluv or @dreamsindrive.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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