Entrepreneurs

Fei Wu Stepped Off The Corporate Track And Built A Thriving Podcasting Career. Here’s How.

Fei Wu is the host of Fei’s World Podcast, where her mission is to help independent creatives to find career and financial freedom. During a 10-year career in consulting and marketing, she built a thriving career as a project manager at companies but yearned for a different lifestyle, one free from corporate politics. “It was not the life I wanted at all,” she says.

She started a podcast her podcast in 2014 in a quest to connect with interesting people in creative fields, teaching herself audio engineering by watching YouTube videos. “I thought if I don’t know something, I will figure it out,” Wu says. “I had no training in audio engineering. The great influencers showed me the way. I watched YouTube videos and downloaded Audacity,” referring to a free and open source video editing platform. As she interviewed guests on the show, she not only learned audio engineering but also found out what it took to become self-employed. “They showed me how to start on my own path,” she says.

In 2016, she made the leap and went full-time with her business, Feisworld Media, tapping her skills as a brand builder, project manager and digital producer and bringing in contractors to expand her capacity. She found that local agency clients needed her services and soon had a thriving business. To keep revenue flowing while raising her visibility, she spent 50% of her time on that business, and 50% on the podcast. She also runs Feisworld Academy, where she offers courses on podcasting, YouTube and Zoom.

Between her businesses, she now brings in revenue in the mid six figures and now has nearly 20,000 followers on YouTube. Her guests have included author and podcaster Joanna Penn, course development guru Jason van Orden, and copywriter and author Helena Escalante.

Recently I had a chance to speak with her about how she made the break from corporate and built her successful podcast—and how other professionals can try podcasting. Here are three strategies she recommends.

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Don’t be afraid to start small. When Wu began podcasting, she started with zero followers, like all new podcasters. What she discovered was that even with a tiny platform, it was possible to attract guests with a quality program. “It doesn’t matter how small your platform is,” she says. “People want to stand on it with you.”

Embrace technology. Tools to help podcasters are proliferating. Taking a few minutes to learn how to use them can make it much easier to produce a podcast. Wu’s favorites include: Podcastle.ai, which bills itself as a one-stop shop for broadcast storytelling; Descript, a tool to create and edit podcasts; and Final Cut Pro, a video editing software. (You can see some of her other favorites here). Having tools that make production easier will help prevent a widespread problem: podcast abandonment.

Consider podcasting part of your marketing. If you want to attract sponsors, the number of downloads of your podcast matters. “Roughly between 50-100,000 downloads per month will start to attract sponsors in general,” says Wu. “That number of downloads must be consistent. It can’t just be one month.”

However, numbers like this are very hard to achieve. Wu prefers to focus on the knock-on effect of podcasting—business from people the podcast brings into the podcaster’s orbit. Wu, for instance, found that her podcast was a powerful catalyst in attracting work for her professional services business. Often, members of the audience reach out and ask her to do work such as moderating a Zoom event. “If people don’t know about you, they can’t buy from you,” she says.

For many of her clients, she has found that a podcast can be a way to move past revenue milestones. Many of the clients she works with are at about $500,000 in annual revenue and find that a podcast can be a way to raise their visibility, provided they produce it consistently.

With her podcast growing, it continues to bring rewards for Wu. Sometimes she marvels at the experience of driving down the highway and being able to listen to her own podcast, something she never imagined during the days she was trying to escape corporate life. “I think everyone should start a podcast,” she says.

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