The Wit + Wire story, from founder Melissa Guller
I can’t believe I’m starting a blog.
Scratch that - I can’t believe I’m starting my another blog.
But let me back up and introduce myself.
My super quick bio
Hiii! I’m Melissa, founder of Wit + Wire and reader of #allthebooks.
By day, I’m the Head of Marketing Engagement at Teachable, an online platform that lets anyone create and sell their own online courses.
I’m also the host of Everything is Teachable, our podcast that takes you behind-the-scenes to learn how everyday creators have transformed their skills and passions into online businesses.
I’m here to teach you how to podcast with the best of ‘em. But to start, let’s ask why Wit + Wire launched in 2019 instead of 2015, which is when I first thought, “Hey, what if I started a podcast?”
My first baby* blog. (*Not about babies.)
Since 2015, I’ve had been trying to start an online business. And I’ll be honest with you; the reason why I didn’t get very far wasn’t rocket science.
It’s because I kept stopping.
When I first launched my online coaching business, I thought I was onto something! Within 3 months, I’d…
Written my first blog posts
Run a full webinar (....to 4 people)
Attempted my first Facebook ads (lol, it did not work)
Launched a website and started offering my services as an online business coach
Thought about launching my first podcast (spoiler: I did not launch a podcast)
Booked my first 2 clients (and f-r-e-a-k-e-d out that people wanted to pay me honest to god dollars)
But then...I stopped. I got an offer for a new full-time job, but I found out they'd revoke it if I didn’t shut down my business.
I went up and down on a giant feelings rollercoaster before ultimately deciding to take the job.
It was both a hard decision to shut down...and it wasn’t. I was finally starting to earn money and get the hang of things. I had big dreams of running my own online business and working for myself, and it was tough to put that dream on pause.
And it was realllyyyyy hard to refund $3000+ of services I could no longer fulfill. I wanted the money (obvi), but I also really wanted to help people launch businesses. I knew my professional skills were valuable, and being helpful is one of my core motivators. (I have severe oldest child syndrome.)
But if I’m being super honest, it was also kind of a relief. It was easier to refund the money than it would’ve been to do the work. Because although I’ve never been afraid of hard work, I was definitely afraid of letting people down.
And if I’d continued on with my own online business, there was a huge chance that I’d fail. It was intimidating.
So like I said, it was both a hard decision and an easy decision. I try not to dwell on the kind of online empire I could’ve built by now (2019) if only I had stayed the course.
The good news? I gained some serious street cred in the meantime.
Working for a NY Times bestseller
I accepted the job and started working for a NY Times best-selling author, and I met a lot of really smart, savvy people in my two years on the job.
I also learned something surprising; I liked working at a fully-remote company.
As an introvert, I thought working from home could go one of two ways. Either I’d love it and I’d thrive in my adorable home office making smoothies every morning and traveling more than ever before, or I’d go Full Hermit and never leave my office/apartment/cave or see the light of day again.
It was mostly the former. Like 80% smoothies, 20% hermit.
Plus, I loved the freedom that came from setting my own schedule. Midday yoga classes literally gave me life, and I started flying around the country to see my family and sisters as much as possible. I’d go home for a full week around the holidays and just work from whereva’.
Because I could.
My first online course with Skillshare
I kept very busy with work, so time for other projects was limited. But in 2017, I published my first online course on Skillshare, called “What Great Managers Do Differently.”
And I have to tell you. I spent sooo much freaking time on this course. Easily 40 hours outlining and preparing the curriculum, recording the videos, and making the accompanying handouts and course materials. When it finally came out in May 2017, I felt relieved (and exhausted) to see that people kind of loved it.
It was humbling and magical all at once. I'd worried that no one would think a 26 year old knew anything about managing teams, and I felt like a total fraud.
But the reviews don't lie. Students of all ages raved about my actionable teaching style and clear explanations. A few even pointed out how grateful they were to learn from a woman for a change. (Men too, mind you. Lotta dudes teach management courses, but in a sea of men, I stood out.)
Now, after two years online, I have 2800+ students enrolled in “What Great Managers Do Differently.”
But before we skip ahead too much, let's go back to 2017 when Naive Melissa got a real wake up call.
A punch in the gut
In July 2017, my employer laid off 40% of the company.
It was a shock to lose my job. I’ve always been a hard worker, and I’ve fought to provide value (and when I can, revenue) to every team I’ve joined. I never could’ve guessed that I’d lose my job since I (falsely) believed that would only happen if I underperformed. So the layoff was yet another humbling experience.
But in possibly the most serendipitous timing of my life, the month I lost my job was the month Teachable found me. Fast forward through 10 interviews and a strong early bond with the employees, and I’d found myself a new home.
It was time for me to re-enter Manhattan and the IRL office scene.
Today at Teachable
I’ve been lucky to work at Teachable full-time for over two years. I’m the Head of Marketing Engagement, and my team manages email campaigns and our large virtual summit events.
At Teachable, our mission is to empower creators to transform their knowledge into income. We've helped over 60,000 creators build and sell online courses. And together, those courses enroll almost 20 million students.
It’s beyond inspiring to hear about creators who have turned passions for watercolor painting or coding into full-blown online businesses. And that’s exactly what I wanted to showcase when I pitched and launched Teachable’s first podcast.
Let’s talk about podcasts. All three of them.
Finally, I’m about to share something relevant. When did I start podcasting?
Well, it wasn’t in 2015 when I first thought about it.
It also wasn’t in 2016 or 2017.
It wasn’t until 2018 - three years after I decided to launch a podcast - that I actually did something about it.
And even then, I spent more time worrying than I did actually creating.
I worried about choosing the wrong name or launching too soon.
I worried that the theme music was dumb. Or that I wouldn’t sound professional enough with my heavily-researched-pull-my-hair-out-is-this-right condenser microphone.
I worried that I’d chosen the wrong podcast host. (I’ve now found better.) I worried I picked the wrong editor (ooof, this took a few tries). And of course, I worried that I'd chosen the wrong topic. (I fixed it.)
But you know what?
In spite of all that worrying...I still launched something. And even though I'd do a dozen things differently next time, I’m still proud I took action.
Here's a quick rundown of the three podcasts I've launched so far:
Podcast #1: Figuring It Out
Perhaps the most ironic decision of them all, I called my first podcast Figuring It Out. I described it as the modern millennial playbook for our 20s and 30s.
I interviewed guests about salary negotiation, job hunting, and writing dating profiles that don't suck. I learned a ton, both about the topics at hand and about the growing world of podcasting.
And after producing 20 episodes, I realized a few things:
I had a knack for production. Podcasting is right in my sweet spot; I could run and manage a podcast with ease and put all of my nerdy love for spreadsheets, data, and organization to good use. #excel-lent
Although I was an experienced teacher, interviewing was a new skillset. But I enjoyed the challenge.
Holy crap, is producing a weekly podcast a lot of effort.
I also realized something pretty fundamental after season 1. It turned out that my topic wasn’t quite right.
Sure, I was getting positive feedback. But my audience was too broad, too nebulous. “Millennials” wasn’t niche enough. So I pivoted in season 2 and tried again, this time narrowing my scope to ambitious millennial women who wanted to start online businesses.
After two seasons, I felt a pull to start fresh on a new idea. But you know what? Each individual episode of both season 1 and season 2 is value-packed, and although I’ve moved onto other projects, the knowledge I gained (and shared) producing Figuring it Out was invaluable.
But I knew it was time to shift gears.
Podcast #2: Book Smart
With one podcast under my belt, I finally felt like I knew what I was doing.
...I mean, I knew more than the first time. But in addition to my technical know-how, I felt like I finally had a good idea for the podcast topic.
I lovelovelove books. But much as I enjoy fiction - JK Rowling and Jodi Picoult, you are my goddesses - I never had an interest in fiction book clubs the way many people do. Sure, I’ve tried a few. But I found that I had a hard time getting into conversion over fictional choices that fictional people made. #hottake
The books I really loved to talk about were personal development books. I can talk about Gretchen Rubin, The Art of Gathering, or Atomic Habits for daysss.
And although I tore through personal development and business books, most of my friends weren’t reading the life-changing nonfiction books I gushed about. But I wanted to find ~new friends~ people to share my passion in another way.
That’s how Book Smart was born. I thought a podcast could be a great outlet to share learnings and thoughts about some of my favorite non-terrible personal development books. (There, I said it. Some self-help books are terrible. Including some very popular ones! I won’t spill the tea on my least faves, but maybe we’ll stow away that idea for a future podcast episode.)
Anyway, there was one big missing piece: a co-host. I didn’t want to just talk into the ether alone - although many podcasters love the format of a solo show! - so I convinced my friend Em to join the project, and a beautiful cohost-ship was born.
To date, we’ve run one season of Book Smart and the feedback has been wonderful. We’ve inspired people to learn from books, even without picking up a copy. With 5000 downloads in our first 6 months and a beautiful upward download trend, we knew we were on to something.
Podcast #3: Everything is Teachable
With my hard-earned podcast knowledge in hand, I pitched my boss and the founder on the idea of a podcast. I scoped out the concept, drew up a budget, and said I could launch within 2 months.
And once I got the green light, that’s exactly what I did.
Everything is Teachable takes listeners behind-the-scenes to learn how everyday creators have transformed their skills and passions into online businesses. I’ve been honored to interview 20 creators for our first season, and within the first month, we hit 20,000 downloads and the #2 Career Podcast in America.
Why Wit + Wire?
Over the last year and a half, I’ve produced and hosted 63 podcast episodes.
I’m convinced that podcasting is here to stay, and that the medium is more accessible than most people realize.
There’s just one problem. Most people have no idea how it’s done.
I see so many smart, awesome people out there (like you!) with unique stories and perspectives. With ideas that would be perfect for a podcast.
But it can feel intimidating to start a new project, especially when you have no experience with audio production or audience building. And with my podcast experience + marketing experience + teaching experience, I feel like I’m in a great position to help.
I’m starting Wit + Wire to help more creators launch and grow high-quality podcasts from scratch. In time, I hope to expand beyond coaching and move into online courses. I dream about having dozens of content contributors and curating the best content for podcasters of all experience levels.
I chose the name as a nod to two things I love; cleverness and a quick wit (and laughing at my own jokes, lols), plus a means of communicating. Wire felt old school and podcast-y. Wit felt good.
It felt like me.
This is not your mama’s podcast site. (Unless your mom is a chic mom blogger, in which case, please send her my way.) This is a place to talk about what’s happening in the podcast space right now, and although I’m ready to write some seriously comprehensive how-to guides, I’m hoping we can have a little fun doing it! Hell, at least one of us is going to think I’m funny by the end of this.
I know, I know. You probably won’t like all of my jokes, and that’s the right opinion to have. But at least you’ll know a bot didn’t generate a bunch of marketing jargon onto a website just like all the rest. At least you’ll know I’m a real human with real thoughts and feelings and typos (it’s gonna happen)...
….and truly awesome, helpful content.
Because that’s the point, for both of us.
You have a voice. A unique, fun, possibly weird voice, and there are listeners out there just waiting to hear from you.
I want to help you get it out there.
Are you thinking of starting a podcast? Let me know what you’re thinking about in the comments!