This is a multi-part series chronicling how this podcast came to be. I thought it would be interesting to document my discoveries and missteps as I go. Whether you found this in a quest to create your own podcast, or are just interested in how Nature’s Archive came to be, I hope you enjoy.
Part I focuses on the process of “ideation”. I think it will show that knowing your planned destination – even if you don’t know your route – is all you need to get started.
Genesis of An Idea
As my love of nature grew so did my concern for what we’re doing to it. I started spending a lot of time thinking about how I could make a difference. I’d always had this simple idea that in the future when I retire, I’d purchase a few acres and restore the habitat on that land. But deep down I realized that I should really do something more. Much more.
Maybe change fields and go into habitat restoration? I’ve worked in tech for 20+ years, and don’t exactly have the credentials to jump to wildlife biology or habitat restoration overnight.
I wanted a quick fix, but the traditional paths seemed nearly impossible without significant financial and family disruption. I don’t want to spend 4 years going to school part-time to get an undergrad degree. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I decided to just start somewhere and see what doors opened and what ideas would result from it.
That start was volunteering – at the local Audubon Society, Open Space organization, and a local bird conservation group. I also decided to take some classes at the local community colleges to build on the knowledge I’d accumulated through self study over the years.
Meanwhile, I have an 1 hour+ commute to my day-job. Each direction. I love to learn, so podcasts were a perfect match for my commuting routine. And I have a wide array of interests – medicine, self improvement, fitness, history. Slowly, I was gaining an appreciation for and a knowledge of the art of making podcasts.
Connecting Disparate Thoughts
My first step was simply casting a wide net through volunteering, taking some classes. Thinking. Networking. Seeing what came next.
I’d spent a lot of time thinking about what skills I had in my day job that were transferable to other fields. Things like public speaking, writing, interviewing, systems thinking, strategy, and logic.
Somewhere else in there, I was searching for a way to take another step in the “right” direction…again, only knowing that my destination was to help the environment on a scale greater than just me.
I can’t walk away from my job, so I had to find a way to do something in “spare” time. I wanted to make sure whatever I did was something I could stick with. I also wanted it to be “durable”. In other words, build skills that wouldn’t go to waste.
Then that magic day came, where I was able to piece it all together. Why not interview interesting people and experts in fields related to what I’m interested in? I can learn from them, hone my interviewing skills, and network further. It seemed so obvious – why hadn’t I thought of this before?
Will it Fly?
I’ve never started a podcast before. I really had no idea how much work it would be, whether I’d be able to get enough guests (after all…who am I anyway?), and how much it would cost. Would my family support me? Would I actually enjoy it enough to sustain it?
Step 1: Assess the Costs of a Podcast
Yes, I had a lot of questions, so I decided to let the idea soak for a couple of weeks. I read a few “how to start a podcast” blogs and spent some time learning about what equipment, software, and web hosting I’d need. I determined I’d need to spend a couple hundred dollars on microphones and recording equipment, and could get away with free software to start. Podcast and web hosting would be 10’s of dollars a month max for what I was planning. I already owned naturesarchive.com for my photography.
Step 2: Assess the Viability of the Podcast
To see if the podcast was really viable, I had to decide on an approach and a theme. I’d already decided on an interview-centric approach, but what would be the theme? I knew I wanted to talk to ecologists, biologists, or anyone who has taken interesting, non-traditional paths to help the planet. Ultimately, I decided to focus on the stories of how these people were able to achieve the success they had.
To see if this was viable, I made a list of people who I knew that might be interested in being interviewed. I crafted a short pitch email, and sent it to them. I was surprised to get a few positive responses right away. So my answer was YES, this is viable.
In Part II, I’ll discuss the specific steps I followed to acquire gear, set up an online presence, and research my approach.