Connecting with shared conversations

Main image courtesy of Alex Mullen, podcast producer, owner of Abs media UK Ltd

This week’s Blog is all about starting a podcast yourself, digging into the knowledge of the Two Northern Lasses, who started their very own last year.

But first I wanted to just check in and see how everyone is doing? How’s it all going?

Have you joined any of the millions of creative projects out there online currently? Or is it all too much and making you feel overwhelmed / guilty that you haven’t got the time to add that to the list of getting through this; working from home, playing teacher as best you can and keeping up with the constant washing and cooking / feeding – is it me or is everyone actually eating like food is about to disappear and they are in survival mode?

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I have to say my daughter’s brownies were delicious though!

Of course, having a little peace time (preferably in a nice quiet room away from tasks and dare I say it the rest of your house-hold!) to either just chill or read or doodle a little can make all the difference in helping you to get through these tough times BUT only if it helps rather than just adding to your ever-growing ‘to-do list’ ! We all don’t need this extra pressure!

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I have a bit of a doodling addiction!

I’ve found it really interesting getting my subscriptions through of various magazines over recent days, some of which haven’t even mentioned corona virus yet due to the lead times they have but Writing Magazine’s Editor Jonathan Telfer does and I found his opening letter refreshing.

I’d anticipated him to say now is the chance to get on with your book and writing projects, as many online writing businesses or social accounts are saying but no, instead he took a more intuitive approach and recognised that now might not be the right time with what is going on and how we are all feeling.

He says,

‘We’re all stressed, we’re all under pressure. If writing helps, and it may well do, all the better, but don’t beat yourself up about achieving some kind of target. All you need right now is to get through this.’

Sound advice I agree with, cut yourself some slack in these difficult times!

I’m also finding it interesting that I’m getting bombarded from well-meaning friends with creative projects, exercise programmes or quotes around keeping going.

I can’t keep up with all the messages and links I’m being sent but I actually feel like I‘m at a bit of an advantage in all of this – I worked out long ago how to keep myself entertained and busy since being in isolation on treatment anyway, and whilst I am really missing my nature walks, the rest of this, i.e not going to shops, cinemas, leisure centres, concerts, creative groups, supermarkets, anywhere public basically, I’ve learned to cope with.

However, that’s not to say I won’t be going wild after all this is over, but it is going to be so strange when I am allowed fully back into the big wide world!

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The kids are appreciating the simple things, even just a walk up the lane by our house

It just goes to show that people are realising how difficult this is over the long term, and  it’s giving people an insight into what living with cancer, auto-immune diseases and life-limiting conditions is like, which on one hand is a good thing to bring more kindness and understanding to what some people have to go through and also not taking ‘normal’ life for granted moving forward.

Connecting with conversations…

Two Northern Lasses

And now to the rest of this Blog, chatting to the lovely Michelle and Jayne, aka the Two Northern Lasses, hosts of the very same podcast, following on from my Blog last week all about my top podcast recommendations.

I originally met Michelle and Jayne though our Wow Wednesdays local accountability group, in-fact Michelle came along to the very first one back in June last year!

Funnily enough, they both often mention in meetings that they don’t see themselves as creative personally, despite being involved in businesses that require many creative skills I think!

Jayne owns Flex Marketing managing all the things that most people associate with being in marketing and more recently is about to launch The Flex Collective, a flexible and collaborative working space in a local village south of Huddersfield – which will be much needed when social distancing finally ends!

And Michelle has developed My SMART App, helping small businesses to create content for social media. She’s also a growth consultant, helping businesses with their sales and marketing.

Since joining Wow, they’ve also come together to start the podcast, Two Northern Lasses which again I think in itself is a creative project; planning their brand for it, the theme, their guests and the questions and style of interviews; creativity plays a part in all of these aspects.

So, I decided to ask them, as very busy business women, what made them decide to take the leap into the podcasting world?

1) So, Jayne and Michelle, what made you want to do a podcast in the first place?

Jayne – Michelle did! We’ve both gone from corporate careers to self-employed/entrepreneurship and over the course of 2019 met people who genuinely want to support each other out in all kinds of businesses.  With our combined skills in sales/strategy and marketing we felt we could do this too and thought a podcast would be a good way to get this out to an ever increasing audience and enable us to help people that we wouldn’t necessarily meet on the networking circuit.

Michelle – I’d been listening to lots of podcasts, mainly US ones,  the business type ones were all a bit too serious, I was looking for something that had bit of humour, genius me thought – I can do that, let’s rope Jayne in, she likes a laugh!

2) How did you decide the topic you would cover?

Jayne – Business was the obvious choice but we wanted to get across that real people with real lives and a sense of humour exist in business too. We set out to inspire people who either were or wanted to be self-employed in a kind of ‘if we can do It, you can too’ type message.

Since then it has evolved into being more about careers in general and our overall message is now really, ‘Go do what you want and if you get it wrong or you want to change things then that is ok and you should do it’.

Michelle – After the first 3 episodes we wanted to settle on a format, so we split into 3 segments – starting with a chat between the 2 of us, then into a chat with a guest – finishing with the ‘Our Moments’ game.

What we’ve found now having talked to our listeners is that they like the fun bits but also like the stories and the reality that change can often be good even if not planned?

3) How did you come up with the name?

 When Michelle originally came up with the idea, she wanted to call it Two Yorkshire Lasses until Jayne pointed out that even though she had lived in Yorkshire for over 25 years, she originally comes from Darwen in Lancashire so we switched Yorkshire to Northern.  A lot of people might not be able to tell the differences between a Yorkshire and Lancashire accent but there are definitely quite a few (although Jayne’s is a bit of a mix of the two now) but we are confident we both are definitely Northern!

4) Was it daunting starting out?

Jayne – We were both really nervous when we did the first recording as it wasn’t something either of us had done before and we obviously had no idea whether people would want to listen to us waffling on but once we realised that it was just a chat that happened to be recorded (and that if we messed up it could be edited) we soon settled in and we actually say this now to our guests who might be nervous about coming on.  When we put the first few out we were also sitting watching the listener numbers (actually we still do!)

Michelle – as above, not nervous at all now and just really enjoy it.

5) What’s your favourite thing about doing it?

Jayne – We have a really good laugh recording it and getting feedback from people is really heart warming  – we all suffer from imposter syndrome so to have people say they love listening to us is amazing.  My favourite thing is when people say they feel like they are in the room with us and want to join in – I love that!

Michelle – We get lots of lovely texts, the ones we get from ‘strangers’ are the best as we know it’s not family and friends.

6) What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered by doing the podcast – that can be something you’ve learned about yourself or one of your guests, or both.

Jayne – I suppose for me personally I have discovered that I can actually engage with strangers.  I am actually quite a shy person so I don’t do this normally unless I am drunk and then you can’t get rid of me so when we have had guests that I haven’t known beforehand I have worried that I wouldn’t have much to say.  It may be because of the type of guest we get on, they are very much like us in mindset etc.

Michelle – I always fancied being a radio presenter although never pursued, I suppose this is the nearest thing to it in my world.

7) What advice would you give to anyone starting out and wanting to do their own podcast?

Jayne – Just get on with it – what have you got to lose?

Practically though, there are groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that help each other out – we got a producer straight off but a lot of people don’t do this, there are loads of ways to record and put the podcast out there, it is just finding what is right for you.  Neither of us are massively techy so Producer Alex is the way to go for us – he is part of our team 100%!

Michelle – for us it’s a hobby but as Jayne says Alex does the techie bit and there are loads of forums/groups with other podcasters/producers willing to advise.   Some like to record a whole series before releasing, we just jumped right in and released the 3 episodes we’d recorded in a few hours.  We are fortunate that between us Jayne and I have the skills to put it out on social media too, so we have very little overheads.

So, there you have it, if being a radio presenter or having your own show has ever been your dream or if you just love talking to people and digging deep into interesting lives and stories, starting a podcast is an exciting thing to try!

It’s something myself and Clair, my ‘Wow Wednesday’ partner keep thinking about and following the Two Northern Lasses and hearing how much fun they have, makes it even more appealing.

My friend Lesley Ellis has just started hers and I’ve been lucky enough to be interviewed on both hers, The Midlife Manifesto (which launched last week, my episode will be on later) and Two Northern Lasses and although a little nerve-wracking, was mostly a fun experience once I’d nailed my ‘erms’ which I realise I use a lot!

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I’ll keep you posted when these episodes are out but in the meantime add them both to your podcast list because they are great fun and inspiring listens! And yes I am biased!

I also just wanted to say a quick Thank You to everyone reading this Blog, I’m aware I’ve collected quite a few new readers in the last few weeks via some Facebook Groups where I’ve been sharing the links and I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts and it means the world to me when someone follows, comments or shares!

I am now on countdown to my last Chemo session which feels amazing so long as CV stays away! From the launch of this post, I have 24 days left to go to that last session, hopefully on the 1st of May, I’m crossing literally everything!

Until next time, stay home and stay safe as always…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

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Ps For those who are bored on lock-down and do actually want a creative challenge, The 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge recently started on Facebook and is running all April, just search and either catch up or just join in as and when you want to.

And Writers online always have their coffee break challenges going on, a great source of quick inspiration for creating stories

PPs For anyone wanting to read about my Chemo journey, here are the links:

Heading into un-chartered waters…

The results are in….

 

 

 

 

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