The lessons I’ve learned from running a successful podcast

As I fast approach my 300th episode, I wanted to share my reflections, insights and top tips on podcasting.

In this episode I share the do's and don'ts of podcasting and the things I would do differently, with the gift of hindsight.

I'd love to know if you're thinking of launching a podcast, feel free to connect with me on socials and let me know!



  1. Whether to choose to do solo episodes or have podcast guests
  2. The pros and cons of having seasons of your podcast
  3. The rules you should consider to ensure quality



Host your podcast with Captivate (affiliate link)

Connect with Teresa on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter



Hello and a really warm welcome to Your Dream Business podcast with me, Teresa Heath Wareing. Now today we are actually on episode 296. Like that kind of blows my mind a little bit that I've done 296 episodes of the podcast. And while I was planning out what was gonna go on these next few episodes, I thought it would be really good to do an episode around, what I would do differently or what I've learned from nearly 300 episodes of a podcast.

So just so you know what that looks like in time, I started my podcast on the 4th of February 2018. And I have never, ever missed a Monday. I've had a couple of Mondays where for whatever reason the tech didn't quite upload it as it should have done, but I've never not had an episode ready to go out on a Monday.

And I think they've always gone out on the Monday, even when the tech has messed up a little bit. And I think that's probably happened like twice. And it was interesting because I was talking to someone today and I was talking about all the work I've gotta do. I've got a very busy couple of weeks and all the work I've gotta get done between now and now, so I can have a calmer couple of weeks.

And I said the podcast, and this person actually said to me, could you not take a break? Like I looked at them like, are you having a laugh? No, I can't take a break. I said, I've never ever missed a Monday, including when my mom passed away. And I don't say that to be like, check me out on I'm amazing. Like I see this as an absolute commitment, and I made that commitment when I started the podcast and I will stick to that commitment.

Now, normally we do recording ahead, so I am normally a couple of episodes ahead of myself. So in particular, when it came to my mom passing away, we did a couple of extra guest episodes, which were easier when you didn't have to hear me too much, and they'd been prerecorded ages ago. And then I did a very short episode about what had happened and how I'd managed during that time and having a business.

And it was a very short episode for the, at that point when I did it. So I've always shown up every single Monday with a podcast episode and I thought, You might be sat there thinking, I want a podcast, or I've might think about doing a podcast, or someone I know might wanna do a podcast.

And what would I have done differently if I'd started my podcast now? So as I was writing it, I, or making notes for it, I kind of got the. It was kind of almost like dos and don'ts of having a podcast, but there is a bit more to it than that. So the first thing I'm gonna cover is guests. Now, if you have been a listener to the podcast for a while, you will know that I used to have guests.

I don't have guests currently anymore. I might in the future, but as we stand today, I don't have guests unless Brene Brown obviously wants to come up and say hi. I'd happily have her. And. I have had during my 300, almost 300 episodes. I have had some phenomenal guests, some huge people in my industry. I have had, I'm just scanning down the list of people who we've had Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, I had Brian Fanzo, Tyler Jay McCall.

I have had James Wedmore. I had some YouTubers, Sean and Benji, I had Jasmine Star. Who else have I had? Lemme keep going. Mike and Kelly from the membership guys. Mary Hyatt. I've had Mary Hyatt twice in that. I've had Michael Hyatt, I've had her sister as well Megan Hyatt I promise. I didn't, just have the whole family.

I've had Chris Mar, Mike Stelzner. I have had so many amazing people. And then fairly recently, I have had Dean Graziosi, Marcus Sheridan, that isn't actually fairly recent since that's back in 2000, 2020. but I had, the lovely, Denise Duffel-Thomas as well. I've also had interviews by small businesses because I did a small business superstar series.

Where I did an extra podcast each week for this particular series. So what have I gotta say about guests? What have I learned? What would I say? If you were doing a podcast or thinking about doing podcast. Now, the first thing I did is I didn't have any guest until my first guest was actually episode 29, 28.

So my first ever guess was Pat Flynn. It was episode 28. So I had done 27 episodes on my own, and that really helped me. It really helped me to get comfortable with how I recorded, what my sound was, how I liked doing it. So actually, I would say that even if you're going to have guests, I would have a bit of time on your own.

Or maybe do every other like I used to. So that's one option. Although I have to say the thing about guests is it is really good to have a guest cuz it's nice to have a conversation. Some people might find it very difficult to sit here and just talk to themselves like I do. As in I don't find it difficult, as in that's what I'm currently doing now.

I guess the thing that I could tell you that I wish I'd done differently was I wish I'd said no to some people. Now, there are some people I had on who I really bought into at the time, and I don't buy into anymore, and I've debated taking down their episodes, but it's all part of my journey, so I've left them up.

There are some people, and obviously I'm not gonna name names, who I kind of wish they hadn't been on at all, and I thought that at the point that we recorded it, and I thought, this shouldn't go out there because that's not either my normal standard or actually, no, it was never, it was never a topic thing, cuz I was always quite strict on that.

I always made sure that the content was going to fit in, but sometimes it was the standard of the guest. Like I had one episode where, and then weirdly it was with a podcaster, but they kept moving all the freaking time and they kept banging the desk and moving stuff and clicking things and it was like, And all I could hear was that, and it drove me insane.

And I should have had the guts to say, this episode isn't going out, or I need to rerecord this episode, or, or say no in the first place on some people. So I think I've always been really precious about who comes on the podcast, but like I said, I think there has been a few people who I wish I'd said no to.

It wasn't the end of the world. I wouldn't have let 'em on, but. There's a couple of ones who I thought, yeah, I should have said no. I should have sent them something like if I had a podcast now I would send guests something, whether it's a handwritten card, whether it is, I've had people actually send me physical things in the post, which is lovely, as in like an actual thing.

But I think even just like a little card in the post is really nice and goes a long way to building that continued relationship because I, some of the people who I've had as a guest or I've been a guest on theirs, the relationship has continued and it's been wonderful. But I think I could have kept some of those relationships stronger if I'd done something.

So that is definitely something I would do if I did it again. I'd also try and get testimonials from them. Now, some of the bigger people, that would've been amazing. I'm not sure how easy that would've been done, and I'm not sure that I have the advice to tell you how to do that. But getting testimonials from other guests to say what a great episode it was, or how good it was to talk or whatever, that you can then use in your marketing to potentially other amazing guests could be really helpful.

In terms of interviewing, and I'll come back to some of the other things, in a bit, but like in terms of the guest thing, keeping down that theme. The interviews conversation style. It has always been my conversation style and I'm glad that I did that. I wouldn't want to have done it any other way.

Do make sure they have rules. Like I said about that one example I just gave, oh, I had one guy be recorded outdoors, and the editor actually said to me, it sounds like there's a pterodactyl in the background. What the hell was going on? And like I should have, and I didn't do it at the beginning. I, I did do it like in the last year or two.

I should have made rules of like, this is, you know, you've got to have headphones in, you've gotta have a good mic. You can't record it on, you know, just the computer's audio. So make sure that you say, these are the kind of the rules. A lot of the people who I interviewed were podcasters. Like I said, that one person was a podcaster and they even did, you know, they're a nightmare.

But a lot of them who are podcasters obviously have an amazing mic and they know the score. But just as a coverall, I then after a, I dunno, like I said, about two years of doing the podcast had this kind of, you have to make sure that you do these things. Don't do. Right. I was interviewed once by someone and they literally started off by going question one, right?

And they'd read the question and then I would come in all loud and like, You know, happy and jolly that I am. And then at the end of my long rambling answer, they'd go, thank you. Question two. Don't ever do that. That is like the worst podcast ever. Not only for your listeners, but for the guest. It was awful.

So definitely, and if the conversation starts to turn, follow it like, you know, it could turn into something really good. Don't be tied to your questions. Do your research on your guest, like, Luckily for me, a lot of my early guests and lots of my guests actually I knew, so it was easy for me to talk about them and who they were and that sort of stuff.

But if you don't know them, cuz that will come a point obviously. Then make sure you do research and then think about with your guests, especially in the early days, which again, I didn't think about who could give you the most growth and reach. Now, you would think with my first few guests, Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, Rick Mulready, that that would've helped massively.

It doesn't, they didn't share it. Okay. The big, huge people are very unlikely to share it. In fact, Amy did share it. On LinkedIn, obviously that's a massive platform for her. No, it's not. If you dunno who she is, like that is not a massive platform for her. I was amazed she was even on it, like they didn't share it.

Now at the time, and this is such good advice actually, if you're getting a guest. If you can get a guest who is popular but doesn't have a podcast, that's genius. Now, at the time, Jasmine Star, when she came on my podcast, didn't have a podcast. Hers for a long time was the most download episode, and she shared it before I shared it.

Like I hadn't even got it on my stories and she'd already got it on her stories and tagged me in, and I got a few more followers and a few more listens because of her. So think about that. I am always very, very, considerate. If I'm a guest on someone else's, I always make sure we share it and we don't always share it necessarily on the day.

Like if I'm tagged into stories, obviously I always share them or re-share them, but we put it into our schedule and we make sure that we share it and we talk about it. So yeah, think about that when you're getting the guests. Also with the guests. Don't say yes to your friends cuz they want to come on if you don't think they're gonna be a good fit.

I have had family members ask to on my podcast, I have had friends suggest they come on my podcast and some of them are in my industry, but I'm afraid they weren't right for the podcast. And I did say no to those people. Isn't that weird? I didn't wanna say no to strangers, happily say no to my friends and family.

So yeah, so do make sure that you think about that. Okay, what else have I got down here? Do do a trailer. I never did a trailer. Wasn't really a thing when it probably was a thing, but I didn't know it back when I started. But doing a trailer is really good cause you're telling people what's coming.

Especially if you are doing a brand new podcast, you definitely wanna do a trailer because before I delve into a whole episode of how long it might be, I want to know in the trailer. What type of podcast this is for who it's for, what are you gonna share? How long are the episodes gonna be? Like? I want all the kind of like, it's like watching a trailer for a film and you are asking people to invest time and actually to begin with, just promote the trailer.

Just promote the trailer on social media and often promote the trailer. So I never did one. Still don't have one. Maybe I should, maybe it'd make a difference now, but I don't know. Do keep better track of episodes. These are just gonna be random. Now, fyi, as in, I've literally just wrote a load of notes.

They're in no particular order. I have just got one on my team to do the very dull episode, episode. Very dull activity of going through every single episode that I have done and putting it in a spreadsheet. And the reason I've got them to do that is because after 290 something episodes of a podcast, I cannot for the life for me remember what the hell I've talked about.

And also, sometimes if you're batching, it might feel like you've just talked about something, so you can't possibly do another episode on it. But actually, that could have been a long while ago. So the other thing I'd have done, Which we will do at some point is, so I've got the, a number of the episode, I've got the title of the episode, we've got when it was aired, and we've got who was the guest, and then what my job is, is to go through and put what the theme is so then I can look at a glance.

How many episodes have I done on emails? How many episodes have I done on social media, how many episodes have I done on mindset? So I would keep track of that fairly early on. Cause if you do it from the beginning, then that's gonna be helpful when you're going forward. And also keep an eye on, actually, I haven't done an episode on such and such, but ages or around that theme.

Don't do long show notes. We did really long show notes when I first started. In fact, I had a copywriter write them and they were like, God, I don't even know. Well, to be fair, when I started, I still had the agency, I think it was like $500 a month or something obscene like that, just for show notes. You don't need big, long show notes.

People don't read them. So really, Like the show notes we have now are really kind of simple to the point. They'll tell you what's in the episode, they'll tell you the key points, and that's it, and the links. And then obviously we have the transcript. So the transcript is on the site on each page of the episode, and that's doing the SEO stuff.

So really like you could turn the show notes into a blog post, but I wouldn't go to the effort if you're not doing it as a blog post. I would keep the show notes really short, really simple. I have always had someone do them for me, so, I, you know, you could do themself. It's entirely up to you. But personally I didn't wanna do that.

I just can't even read my own handwriting here. So record secret content. Now with the guests. And actually this is another point still to do with the guests. I should have had it all on the guest thing. I told you I just wrote down things anywhere I should have filmed. And properly filmed every single guest because like I said, I have had some phenomenal people and although they knew they were being recorded, and I might have said to them, I might use some of the video, I did not say, and therefore I cannot put them on YouTube, and as an entire episode, I should have.

When I got, when I started, even if I don't do it, if you are starting a podcast, you should say to them, I am gonna be recording it. You are on camera, and I might use it in full or in part, and then you've got the option. I never had the option. And like I said, I had some crazy amazing people on here who I could have done put 'em on YouTube and had a YouTube channel.

I don't have that. So definitely, definitely film it and consider putting it on YouTube even if you'd not sure whether you're going to, even if it's a down the line thing. Make sure you're recording it properly and then and saying to the guest, this is what we might do with it. So that you've got that there and you can do it if you wanted.

So, yeah. So then when I'm with the guest, I would've recorded secret content. Now we would've recorded secret content for a couple of reasons. One, you could then do something like, I listen to a podcast on health and he does secret content, if you sign up to his, whatever it is, a month kind of membership.

So you could do it for that reason. You could do it for a Facebook group. I always considered having a Facebook group for the podcast, and if I had recorded secret content, that would've been a great place to put it. So it could have been like, here's the interview with you know Denise Duffield- Thomas, but join the Facebook group because we also talk about X, Y, Z, and you could literally just have like five, 10 minutes of content that doesn't go on the podcast, but goes into that Facebook group.

Or you could use that secret content in an entirely different way for entirely different content purposes, but it would just give you an option. The same as having a number of set questions. I never had a number of set questions and anybody that does a podcast now, I say, I recommend that you do that. So for instance, I could have had the set questions of what one book helped your career or changed your life, or whatever it might be.

And then I could have done a whole host of content around, these are the books that the experts say to read. Like, or I could have done a question of what one thing, one piece of advice would you give someone starting out? And then I could have done a whole host of stuff around, if you're just starting out, here's the advice from the best people.

So if I was starting a podcast now, I would have done specific questions that I ask everybody so that I have the same bit of content from everybody. What else have I got down here? Seasons. Now I've written seasons down and this isn't really a do or don't, it's just kind of a thought about it. So I don't do seasons.

I literally, as I've already said, rock up every single week. I, I get why people do seasons. I really, really do. And. I understand the benefit to doing them because you get a break. I personally like the consistency of it, and I worry that if I was to do seasons, then I would either not start again. That's a fair chance, or that I'd fall outta people's memories and therefore, when the season came around again and it's a new season, I'd have to work hard to get all those downloads again.

However, the one thing about seasons that might work, and this goes for when you are launching a podcast, is the charts are often, they're looking for activity, right? And when you have a consistent podcast like me, unless you all whoever's listening to this, go and do a review for me tomorrow or share it with 20 of your friends and they all download it.

It's very hard to get a spike in your podcast to get you into like high in the charts. When you are a brand new podcast, you have a chance to get like charted or seen because you have a lot of activity that's happening in a very short space of time. So if you release two, three episodes for your first, or if you do a season that releases two, three episodes and suddenly lots of people go listen to it, then suddenly you've had no downloads to loads of downloads, and that looks like a big kind of jump in activity.

Whereas mine never looks that big a jump because I consistently have a number of people listen to it. A number of people that makes it sound like it's five, definitely more than five. I tell you, I love doing it, but I would need more than five to go to this effort every single week. So, yeah, so doing seasons, you could do that.

That could constantly keep you back up in the charts and keep you kind of being seen, but you've gotta have that audience to go, it's coming soon. The season two is coming soon. Season two is coming soon, this is happening, this is happening. And then boom, everyone go, listen. But otherwise, Personally, I didn't do seasons.

The one thing I would urge you to make sure that you do is don't start a podcast if you're not consistent. Know what it is you're gonna do and the amount of people, and it makes me so sad and frustrated and it really isn't anything to do with me and I really should just get over it. But the amount of people who've gone, I'm doing a podcast, I've done a podcast, and then I just looked at someone and like for the first two months, they were great.

After that massive gaps. It works on that consistency. So if you say, I'm gonna show up every week, show up every week. If you say you're gonna do seasons, do your seasons, and in fact if you are not sure, then absolutely commit to the season. And then if at the end of it you're like, I'm really into this and this is working cuz it does take work, then go, actually I've changed my mind.

I'm not doing seasons, I'm gonna carry on. So yeah, so that's my thought on that. Okay. Do get on other people's podcasts. That is definitely gonna help you launch your podcast or get listeners to yours. And what is quite nice, even though I said do say no to guests if you don't think they're a good fit, is having a podcast being able to do, do you wanna do a podcast swap?

And especially if your early days, then that can actually be a really good way to get people on yours and for you to get on other people's. Podcast and to get your message out there cuz if they like the sound of you, they might come and listen to your stuff.

And the last thing I'd suggest is if you are looking at starting a podcast, don't concern yourself with getting the best mic and the best thing and the best everything. People are pretty forgiving as long as the audio is not horrific. And you know, some of the cheapest mics, their audio is still really good.

Some of the best podcasts out there. I've got terrible bloody audio. It's ridiculous, but, Don't procrastinate by going, I've gotta have the best mic when I can afford this. I'll do it. You can record today with a fairly cheap mic, like for like 30 quid or something. So don't think you need all the gear before you get started, cuz you don't.

I didn't. I improved as time went on. And like I said, I've almost now done a curve ball because if you're listening to this and you're new to me, I had a podcast editor who did a lovely job of editing my podcast, but I had a quest for a simpler life at the beginning of this year, and I decided that having a podcast editor was just adding in another step to the process and.

And having another team member and paying another salary and having another step, you know, for the other team members to have to process. So for me now, I literally record these clean. So as you hear me talking now, there's no editing on this. I literally record the episode. When I finish, I stop and I send it over to, Becci, who does my show notes and gets the social stuff ready.

And then Johanne does the management side in terms of getting everything uploaded and all done on the site and stuff. Oh. And one last final do go check out Captivate. I'll link to it in the show notes. It will be an affiliate link. I am an affiliate for them, but they are great. I used to use LipSync to host cuz you need someone to host a podcast, but Captivate is much, much, much better.

Okay, I hope you enjoyed this week's episode and if you know someone who is thinking of starting a podcast, then please do forward this on to them. I will be back next week for episode 297, getting very close to episode 300. Until then, have the most amazing week.