Meet Natalie Sisson, the host of Untapped, a podcast for go-getting humans who want to make real changes and live up to, and beyond, their human potential. 

And speaking of real changes, Natalie’s podcast and business have both changed quite a bit since her blog launched in 2010 as the Suitcase Entrepreneur. Her podcast has gone through three unique iterations – all of which we’ll discuss today – and over the years she’s changed the name, format, and monetization strategies of her show.

But the big question is…why? 

Why might you want to rebrand your podcast, and do you risk losing your audience in the process?

Why would you stop taking on sponsors if they’ve been lucrative for you in the past?

And perhaps the biggest why of all…why are you podcasting anyway, and what happens when your current approach is no longer serving you or your listeners?

Even if you haven’t started your podcast yet, there are so many great tips in this episode for beginners through seasoned pros.

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • The right way to ask potential guests to be on your show
  • Why guests with smaller audiences are sometimes better than those with larger ones
  • How to encourage your guest to promote your episode with them to their audience
  • How to choose the right format for your podcast (ex. storytelling, solo, narrative, etc.)
  • Creating more content via asking questions and receiving feedback from your followers
  • The power of repurposing content
  • How to monetize your podcast

I felt so inspired talking with Natalie in today’s podcast, and I hope you will too!

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by a free AI tool called Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Natalie Sisson 0:00
Have a real strong why behind your podcast. Without a strong why, and a real purpose and plan as to why you're doing it, it's too easy to just sort of let it go, because it can be a lot of effort. You do need to motivate yourself, you do need to be consistent with it, I think for it to really grow, and so that you actually fall in love with this medium versus treat it as kind of an experiment.

Melissa Guller 0:22
Today I’m here with Natalie Sisson, the host of Untapped. a podcast for go-getting humans who want to make real changes and live up to, and beyond, their human potential.

And speaking of real changes, Natalie’s podcast and business have both changed quite a bit since her blog launched in 2010. Her podcast has gone through three unique iterations - all of which we’ll discuss today - and over the years she’s changed the name, format, and monetization strategies.

But the big question is...why? Why might you want to rebrand your podcast, and does that risk losing your audience in the process?

Why would you stop taking on sponsors if they’ve been lucrative for you in the past?

And perhaps the biggest way of all...why are you podcasting anyway, and what happens when your current approach is no longer serving you or your listeners?

It’s all coming up in today’s episode of Wit & Wire.

Announcer 1:26
Welcome to Wit & Wire, the podcast that takes you behind the scenes with podcasters and industry experts to help you start and scale a binge worthy podcast of your own. Here's your host, Melissa Guller.

Melissa Guller 1:44
Hey everyone, I’m Melissa and I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest Natalie Sisson.

Natalie is a New Zealand entrepreneur, author, speaker, host of the ‘Untapped’ podcast and triathlete. After ditching a successful corporate career and co-founding a technology company, Natalie decided to monetize her humble, 6-month old blog, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, into a multiple-six figure online education platform back in 2010. In her efforts to continuously innovate, Natalie, the OG of digital nomads, has since turned that content and knowledge into 8 different revenue streams including digital products, courses, workshops, international retreats, and coaching. These days, she’s passionate about helping others leverage their unique set of skills, knowledge, and experience to earn a living and make an impact from anywhere, simply by being them.

Melissa Guller 2:56
Natalie, I’m so excited to welcome you to the podcast.

Natalie Sisson 2:59
Thank you. So excited to be here.

Melissa Guller 3:00
So I think it only makes sense to start at the beginning. And in this case, I'd love to start even before you had your podcast. So can you share more about what it looked like in your very earliest years when you were running your online business and how things got started?

Natalie Sisson 3:16
Yeah. Oh, my gosh, how far back do you want to go? I think it was the strategic hustle mode of doing everything that you can to build a community, creating blog posts after blog post, putting out offers, building a list, being valuable to people showing up generously and just doing all the things. And it was probably a couple of years into that journey. When I started to start seeing some traction, developed better systems, got a little team and started my podcast that I just think that's when I really started developing the rhythm and routine of turning up with content that resonated and continuing to understand what my audience needed as I was going on this journey of building my remote business from anywhere while traveling the world.

Melissa Guller 3:59
I think a lot of listeners can probably relate to the doing everything you can approach the seeing what sticks and just trying to make all this content. And was there a moment where you thought that a podcast would be a good fit for you? or How did you make that decision to start?

Natalie Sisson 4:14
That's a really great question. Was there a moment, I think I was listening to podcast at the time thinking that, oh my gosh, I've probably missed the boat on this because they've been around for ages as so many people do. And then I'll say Actually, I really loved the medium. And I think by listening to more of them, and listening to people who had beautifully crafted shows, and then listening to some that were just terrible, I was like, I feel like I could do this. And I think I could do this better than some of these people. And I also just love to turn up either on video or in people's ears. And I just thought was another way that I could get my content out there. I'm also a big one for talking through quite a somebody who talks and processes like I get my best ideas in the flow. And so to me, podcasting felt like it would allow me to do that. So I don't think it was super intentional, but it was very much like this is another medium to be able to read People and share message. Let's see if it's a good fit. And then I just fell in love with it

Melissa Guller 5:04
makes sense. And during those first few months and even for you years of podcasting, what did your process look like? And I know you were interviewing guests. So how did you find those people?

Natalie Sisson 5:15
Really great question. I would often go to events or conferences, as well as people that I've seen online. I've been following their blogs i'd learnt from them like back then it was pro blogger and Darren Rouse and a bunch of people that I just would follow, learn from and then be like, I wonder if they'd be open to being on my show. The very first couple of episodes were with women entrepreneurs who I'd really admired for a long time, because I was a co founder of a tech company. Just prior to starting my blog. I had quite a few contacts from net that I'd reached out to just for mentoring. And so it was a real natural shift to just say, Hey, would you want to come on my podcast, then it was people who I met at conferences who I thought all the messages great. I think my audience would love to hear from them and just kind of whoever inspired me, almost invited me at the time just reaching out and making the ask. And I was surprised at how many people were like, Yeah, I'd love to be like, it just seems so silly that then doesn't it like, Oh, I really admire that person. I wonder if they'd even take a moment to come on my podcast, and they will always up for it?

Melissa Guller 6:13
Well, I think it's important you bring that up? Because I do think that something new podcasters in particular worry about is, oh, I'm not an internet celebrity. I don't have a following who would possibly say yes to coming on my show. But it sounds like you found that people were more willing. And you were even surprised by how many yeses you've got?

Natalie Sisson 6:30
I was. Yeah, I think it's the power of, you know, making enough making sure that you valued their time and saying this is, this is what it would be, this is how it would help you. I'll share it everywhere. And people are more than willing, I think, to share their knowledge, especially if they asked in the right way. And from there, it was kind of people that they might suggest, or I I'd go on podcasts and I'd like listen to who they had on and I go, Oh, I want that guest on my show. So I'll reach out. And then probably as you'll find as you do this, then you start getting people actually ask To be on your podcast and more and more these days getting podcasts but agencies who come with you with really good guests who know who your audiences and who think that might be a fit and quite often, and so it's been interesting to see how that's changed over the years.

Melissa Guller
Yeah, absolutely. I think what people often underestimate is that being on a podcast is a great opportunity. And the more you develop your own podcast, the more like you said, people will want to join you. And before we move on, I noticed you said that you have to ask in the right way. So what does asking in the right way look like?

Natalie Sisson
To me it's showing up and knowing and showing that you really like that person and that you actually listen to their podcast or watch their videos or read their content versus the old blanket. Hey, I'd really like you to be on my show. This is what it's about. You know, I think people often come at it from a point of view of can you do this for me versus here's why I love your message. Here's what I admire about you. Here's what I appreciate about you, showing interest in their work showing that you Actually, as somebody who knows what they do, because I'm far more inclined to take a request, when someone's like Natalie, I listened to a recent episode on Blair, I thought it was brilliant, which is always lovely to hear. So start off with the compliment and show that you've dived into their content and then say, look, I happen to talk about that topic. But in this way, would you be interested? Here's three points that we could discuss on the show. If that sounds interesting to you, please let me know. And we'll schedule it in is far more effective to me than somebody just saying, Here's somebody you might like, they've got a new book, and they do this and this and this, and just not even thinking about how they might come across to me and why it's a benefit to my audience.

Melissa Guller 8:34
Mm hmm. Two great tips, one, you know, personalize the outreach and to think about the benefit to them instead of just telling them how great it's going to be for you. sounds so simple, but I'm sure many of us have seen emails before where you just scratch your head and you think, does this person even know who I am? And that's the last impression we want to leave. Exactly. So in addition to how we make the ask, I think, of course, who you ask is important as well, and it You've had some success finding guests with smaller engaged audiences versus having to pitch these big, big names. So can you talk a little bit more about that strategy?

Natalie Sisson 9:09
Yeah, I think that about actually when I started guest posting on other people's sites, and I often found that you go for a big name, and it might be amazing and you get all these shares, but you wouldn't actually get many people coming back to visit your site or join your email list or learn more about you. And I often think that the people with smaller audiences but really true fans, you know, those thousand true fans, people who are super engaged, more likely to be either one better guests on your podcast or for you to be a great guest on there's because there people are actually they're there and they want to know more and they are super active and they're hyper focused and strategic on the audience that they're serving. And so those people respond and kind and as much as it's lovely to get heaps of reach and lots of exposure from a big name. I actually much prefer the conversation With people both to be on their podcast and have them online, because there's so much more willing to share the nitty gritty, they're often going through it right now. And so it's that much more real. And my listeners can relate, versus somebody who's super polished and expert and been doing it for years. And I've even had to check myself sometimes, like when you get to this position of being, supposedly authority on something, you can actually kind of talk from a distance and people are like, Huh, but that doesn't relate to me. Because how could I ever get there? I mean, that feels like it's five years in the future. And that's why I think sometimes these small audiences and people who are going through it right now make great guests, and they're more willing to share your content on to their audience and for that audience to be really enamored with what you're talking about, or just far more likely to respond. So I think there's benefits on on both sides.

Melissa Guller 10:47
Mm hmm. That's such a great way to think about it where maybe listeners haven't considered that smaller guests with small engaged audience. They're not just more likely to say yes, but they're closer to the point where your listeners are It feels more attainable. So there's a ton of value that they can provide and perhaps value is not measured by audience size alone. Exactly. Now, you I know mentioned as well that they are willing, perhaps to promote your episode to their audience. So how did you encourage those guests to actually take that step to promote their episode to their people?

Natalie Sisson 11:21
I think actually, it's just making it as easy as possible for them to do that. So being able to have a definitive call to action, which is something that I missed for so many years, I would just say, yeah, and they'll be like, Where can we find out about you? And I'd be like, Oh, you know, just come across to Instagram or Twitter or maybe say hi, and rather than, oh, I've actually put together a great free guide or I've got a quiz or I've got a video or I've got, you know, something that something can go great. I'd like to go across to Natalie site and visit her and even have a direct URL for the listeners of that show so that they feel a little bit special. And when they go to that website, and they land on it will say hey, listener of the show. Great to see you here, which is just such a touching thing. I've seen other people do it for me and my listeners really like it. They're like, Oh, that was really personalized. And it was nice to know that this was specifically for me, as a guest on that show.

Melissa Guller 12:12
I'm hearing a theme of personalization come up again.

Natalie Sisson 12:15
Yeah, well, that's my style for sure. Because people and you got to treat them that way. Right. And I think it sticks out in their memory is something a little bit special versus Hey, come across to my generic thing, even if that thing is the thing that's available on your site, just having a personalized landing page is so effective, I think for just showing that you've got that extra caring touch.

Melissa Guller 12:35
Yeah, absolutely. Now, as your podcast did continue to grow, and your business grew as well, you started to pivot a little bit. So can you talk us through I think it was early 2017, where you started to shift from interview into, I believe, a more narrative style format.

Natalie Sisson 12:53
That was an interesting shift.

So it had the Suitcase Entrepreneur and I'd hit my 300 episodes and right around the time that I actually came back to live in New Zealand, my home country, and didn't feel so inclined to be the Suitcase Entrepreneur anymore, I wasn't traveling as much I wanted to sort of pivot into a new brand. And my theme had always been about creating more freedom in your business and life. And so I sort of went down this path of the right to freedom, which was something very dear to me. I've done a lot of research on it, a big body of work on it. And I thought it'd be really fascinating to discuss that topic on the podcast, keeping the original feed, which is something really smart to do. So you don't lose all those millions of downloads. And it worked quite well, actually. But what I realized is, it's a lot harder to turn up with your own content, and your own topics.

And you actually have to put in a lot more I think, research unless you're just speaking very from the heart, in order to keep it quite sharp and well produced versus the ability to jump on an interview with somebody which is something I love doing because you just get to be curious and ask lots of great questions. So it was definitely a really good extension. challenge for me as a podcaster. And then I pivoted one more time to what I currently have now with untapped, which is a combination of interviews and solo episodes, much more focused on what I want to be talking about. But it definitely I think it's good to challenge yourself as a podcaster. And sometimes change up the format, stretch yourself, do more research, be more considered about the topics that you're putting out and think about different ways that you can engage maybe a new audience or have a different angle, but it's, it's also takes a lot of effort.

Melissa Guller 14:30
And I love to hear you mentioned that you experimented with different things because I think podcasting is such a blank slate, you can try so many formats and different topics. And I hope that people don't feel afraid to test different things and that what you do in Episode One doesn't have to be what you do in Episode 550. Or, in your case what I assume as 12 million at this point.

Natalie Sisson 14:55
It's not quite that bad. It's not there.

Melissa Guller 14:56
You have an astounding amount of episodes, and I Would love to hear before we talk about untapped. Now that you have experience with different formats like solo interviewing or the narrative style? What advice would you share for somebody who maybe is trying to choose the right format for them right now?

Natalie Sisson 15:15
I actually think it's really important to figure out how your podcast is going to help your credibility, your status, your business, if you're in it for that, and how it can be used to give you more authority, credibility and a voice. So if you are a coach or a consultant, and you're somebody that somebody comes to for advice, for example, it's really smart, I think, to do more solo episodes and talk about what you actually teach to those clients so that you actually turn up and become that person that people look to for that advice. If you are a content creator, maybe you're an author or a writer, interviewing other authors and writers is a great way to be able to show that you ask great questions and you can listen Great information out of them. And you're also providing lots of generosity to your audience. If you're more of a beginner at what you're doing, but you're, you know, like I use the term leading learner, which I love, you know, a couple of skips ahead of somebody else.

It's great to bring on people who can help others learn so that you are more the curator of the content in the interviews. So I guess it depends on how you want to position yourself what stage you're at, in your life in business, and where you want to position, the information that you're putting out there as to which style you go with. So I know for experts and authorities and coaches and consultants, that's great, I think if they kind of turn up and do more of it. And then yeah, if you're more of an interviewer, and you want to build up your repertoire of people that you talk to increase your network, learn things yourself, then interviews are a great format. And then there's storytelling and highly produced shows and episodes and series and there's just so many ways to be creative. And I think it really comes down to what's your choice, and what do you feel that you can see Stick with consistently and do, that's not going to deter you from showing up for your podcast.

Melissa Guller 17:05
And that's such a helpful explanation. And I also love that phrase leading learner. I've never heard that before. But yeah, there's such a value in being that person who is excited and eager to learn and bringing other people into that journey with you. So that framework that you know, are you coaching and explaining? Are you curating content? Are you a leading learner? I really enjoy that framework. And hopefully listeners do too. Now thinking about untapped. That's the active version of your podcast. Why did you decide to go with that name? And what was different about your approach this time?

Natalie Sisson 17:40
untapped was because it just I wanted one single word for the podcast. I wanted it to be short and catchy and kind of intrigued people. And it was when I was thinking about what is the thing that I think I do best in my business and in life and for me, that's I see potential and possibility and everybody I meet and also So in so many situations, so I was like, how can I talk more about how to tap into your potential and ultimately get paid to be you because that's pretty much what I do these days as a business coach with everything that I turn up with. And so that's where untapped came from, because I felt it was about untapping your potential, and it also had a little bit of curiosity and intrigue. And the reason why I guess I switched or pivoted, and now do a series of interviews and solo episodes is because I think after starting my podcast back in 2012, I just know what works for me and I know where I'm best. And I'm best doing free flow conversations with people being intrigued being curious probing with great questions, knowing what my audience needs and getting the right people on my show. For areas that I know they're interested in, mixed in with the right amount of solo episodes where I can have my own opinion piece and talk about what's topical and what's new. And what's dear to them right now. And what I'm seeing trends one And in my community, I just really like having the flexibility to do both and not make it highly curated or overproduced. So that's just the style that I know works well for me now. And it's been working really well and continuing to grow. So I keep doing more of what people seem to respond to.

Melissa Guller 19:18
Mm hmm. Even what you just said, more of what people respond to. I think that's such an important takeaway as a podcaster is to listen to your audience and to learn what they need and how you can serve them. And you mentioned that you're good at knowing what your audience needs. So how do you figure out what they need?

Natalie Sisson 19:36
I do a lot of asking, and a lot of surveying. So every single year, I do an annual survey where I go to my community through my email list and through social media, and I asked them what their number one challenge is right now, when it comes to their business. I asked them a series of questions of how they listen in to content, what content they need, what they want to learn. And that's what I do and I analyze it and I publish it publicly. And then I get to work on like, looking at those answers and delivering to meet their needs. I also just continually ask people who are in my courses in my programs, I observe where they're at, I listen to the questions that I consistently get to their responses to the replies to the DMS. And I find that my audience is my biggest source of inspiration, because I could talk about all the things that interest me, but I really want to talk about all the things that interest them, and they're going to help them right now. So I think it's just about being really curious. And asking all the time, people will give you the gold, and then that's what you get to pour into your podcast.

Melissa Guller 20:36
Curiosity, I think is a really good word to describe podcasters no matter what format or what topic we're choosing. I think one of the amazing things about being a podcaster is that you get to ask great questions. Even if you're doing a solo episode. Maybe you're asking great questions of your community. Although if you're interviewing somebody like I have the pleasure now I get to ask you curious questions to you and it's such a great way to To learn as well, I think that's maybe an under-appreciated benefit of being a podcaster.

Natalie Sisson 21:05
I think it's the best bit of it, it's almost a little bit selfish in that you get to pull people on your podcast who you want to talk to, and ask them all the things. And when you're starting out, it's just so exciting, right? You get maybe one or write a book. So you bring on a really amazing author who's done super well in publishing. And you just ask them everything you have and want to know, I've done that so many times. And it feels like a real privilege to be able to do that. And they're really excited because they want to share their knowledge. You learn at the same time and so does your audience. It's like a system all around winning.

Melissa Guller 21:35
It is actually often describe podcasting as one of the only true like win-win business situations where I feel like everyone's getting so much value I as the host, I'm learning so much and I'm getting to share with my audience, the guest ideally is getting in front of new people and sharing their knowledge or their expertise. And the listeners are willing to because they're hearing whatever knowledge or entertainment we get to share and it just feels Really good to be a podcaster?

Natalie Sisson 22:02
It really does, isn't it?

Melissa Guller 22:05
I mean, don't get me wrong sometimes it's also like another episode, we all have our ups and downs. But overall my feelings are positive. And speaking of my own curiosities as a podcaster, I know, these are some of the hottest questions that new podcasters are always asking. But as you've grown over the years, what are some of the biggest ways that you've been able to increase your downloads or your listeners over time?

Natalie Sisson 22:28
You know, I'd love to think that I should be able to do a better job of that. And I do have lots of ideas for you listeners, but I think for me, it's about consistently repurposing the content. I was just having a chat with a fellow podcaster this morning. And I said, you know, what I don't do enough of and I have been doing more of recently is not just sharing the podcast once but sharing it multiple times throughout the week. So I will always post an email the day that my podcast goes live, and I share what they're going to learn in it, why they should tune in, but then throughout the week.

I will reshare that across Instagram, LinkedIn through a series of short videos with a 62nd teaser with subtitles or just so they can listen and I'll share it in my stories and my feed. I'll put up a quote from the person who was I was interviewing or a quote from my own episode. So multiple ways for people to be able to interact and engage with the content and not just once off. That has helped immensely in terms of more people clicking through to content that even might have been from a few months ago, if it's topical, if it's timely, bring back some of your best episodes, put them front and center people. And right now more than ever was so many people just consuming content like crazy and being online and being locked down. It's kind of the perfect time to get that in front of them, especially with hopeful useful messages. And the other way is when I do have guests on as making it as easy as possible for them to share the episode so we actually send an email assistant helps me with it with a little write up, copy and paste text and the images graphics and that 62nd audio teaser for them. To share and I just had feedback the other day from a guest who said, this is the most professional and awesome email ever. And it was super easy to share your content, thank you so much. And the easier you can make it for somebody share, the more likely they're going to and that also introduces you to their audience. So it's a big part of that when when again, right you have them on the show for their fantastic generosity and value, but also to potentially reach their audience as well and get in front of them.

Melissa Guller 24:27
Yeah, such an important piece of advice about making it as easy as possible for them to share, not only because they're more likely to do it, but they've done you such a huge favor by coming onto your show and creating personalized graphics or like you said earlier a custom link that they can share. I think it really just shows a level of professionalism and personalization that shows you really care about their episode doing well.

Natalie Sisson 24:49
Exactly.

Melissa Guller 24:51
I also know that you mentioned not just having the guest share but I want to go back to the different repurposing of the content because in a podcast episode, there is so much content, the quotes, the action items, different pieces of advice. There's so many ways that you can frame that. And I think that was such a great tip about sharing different types of content even at different times throughout the week or later in the year. And for anybody listening, just doing a day of that's just the beginning. And maybe that's sparked some ideas about different ways that they can continue to use the content moving forward.

Natalie Sisson 25:28
Yeah, absolutely. I think looking at themes right now that are happening out in the world. And going back to some of your episodes and going would this be useful, then doing you know, another promotion on it a short snippet from it, even doing as you just said, sort of a series. So if you right now are wanting to do X, you might want to check out these three particular episodes because you'll learn X, Y and Z. Just grouping things together for people making it super easy for them to interact with your content and come back to it. Another thing is when you're doing a podcast, I often refer to an existing one that they might like to listen to next, if they enjoyed this, and that just requires you being a little bit more on to it in terms of remembering the guests and the episodes that you've had. But whether it's you or somebody in your team who can do that, as just doing bundles, I guess of goodness, where people can go back and binge listen to your podcast. These are all great ideas, and I should follow up with them myself, I think the thing is a content creator is knowing which of those things, move the needle and really do help more people find your podcast and increase the downloads, versus the ones that feel like you're doing something productive, but they're not actually landing that well with people, because we only have a certain amount of time. And it's best to use it on the ones that are actually making a difference. And you can do that through your analytics and see what's working, whether the videos or the blog posts or the audio teasers or the snippets, which of those is actually effective at driving more traffic towards your podcast.

Melissa Guller 26:56
Data is so powerful and I'm actually wondering are there Things that you've tried that you've been surprised, didn't work as well as you thought that they might.

Natalie Sisson 27:05
Hmm, that's a really good question. I'm always surprised at what works and what doesn't and which episodes land and which ones don't. Because often I think in the past, I thought this was going to be a great episode. I loved it. And then, you know, it's okay. People like it, but then there'll be one that I was like, I don't know if I did the best interview there. And people be like, I just loved that episode and my heart. So sometimes you think you know best and you don't. But I do think that some of the, I really am enjoying the videos with the subtitles. I've literally just started bringing those back again, as well as the audio teasers because I think I can send somebody to that and say, Look, if you've never listened to my podcast before, get a taste of it, of the interview or the solo episode here with just 60 seconds. And even if they have to do that three or four times and they see that come up on their feed, at some point, if they like it, they like what they hear, they'll be like, actually, I need to change Natalie's podcast, I need to subscribe or I need to download an episode.

Another thing that I do do from time to time quite regularly is I actually share the apps, the actual download link versus the podcast post or the link to the URL so that they will actually open it right up and start listening straightaway. Which is just an interesting tactic to try and see how it works for you. I think I got that a long time ago of my friend john Lee Dumas, who was like, yep, I send them to the URL so they can visit the blog post and click play, or sometimes send them the direct link. So it's like opens right up there on the computer, they can download it and listen. And sometimes that's good for people who just aren't used to taking action and might never listen, but it'll pop up and they'll start listening to you straight away. Go, Oh, I didn't realize that Natalie has this podcast. Actually, this is good or enjoy it. Now. I'll go and check her out.

Melissa Guller 28:51
That's good advice to even just switch it up and just see what's working. And I have found that me included, were also bad at guessing like you were talking about what the episodes are not going to know which one is going to land. And I'm constantly surprised for anybody promoting directly to a blog post page. I think that's a great suggestion, try promoting it directly to the download and see what works. And the video I think is so smart too, because people, I think, learn and respond to you in different ways. So with a podcast, you get audio with a blog post, you get written writing, you get a video in there, now you've got your face, I think it must be really helpful to have all those different versions because I think a common misconception with business is that you assume that if somebody sees you once they'll remember you. But it often takes quite a few tries for them to check you out or to think oh, let me actually move forward with checking out this podcast.

Natalie Sisson 29:45
Yeah, I guess are right, and I guess it comes down to what is your strategy? Is the podcast going to be the be all and end all for your business or your career? Or is it sort of a side hobby, I would hope that you'd make it a pretty intricate part and integral part of what you do. And then it's time How much time do you have to commit because you, you can't kind of do all the things. I mean, it's quite useful and easy to repurpose content, but it still takes time to put it out there. So I think finding one or two methods that you know, work really well and then absolutely honing and refining them, and doing them super balanced super consistently. And then over time, you can add and change and switch things up to see what works, but just starting with a few key things, and consistently doing them as definitely helped me so that I don't get overwhelmed with trying to do all the things. Mm hmm.

Melissa Guller 30:31
Love the tip about focusing. I feel like in today's internet landscape, it's so easy to think you have to be everywhere and like you said, do all the things but I love that tip to just focus and see what you can do now what feels accessible to you, because you can always add more things later and later we'll come. Now speaking of some of those more things, or maybe the later things, how are you monetizing your podcast if at all currently?

Natalie Sisson 30:56
Oh, that's a great question. I actually don't have any sponsorship on my podcast currently I used to and it was super lucrative, and Greg, but I chose to go advert free in the beginning of 2018 in order to then promote my own courses, or programs or tools or software that I loved as an affiliate, so I quite liked not having the adverts. I like not being beholden to something else. But I still do talk about things that I love and want to promote. And that has actually worked quite well in terms of, you know, course platforms that I like, or tools that I use in my business or people that I want to share or courses that may be happening.

And I related to the content in my podcast. So if I'm talking about blogging as a way to get paid to be you, and there's a course that I really love that I happen to promote all time with that that's been the method for me to be able to monetize. And it's actually worked pretty well and it feels more personal.

But back when I had sponsorship on the Suitcase Entrepreneur, I mean it was incredible it more than covered my editing costs in the podcast editor costs and all of those things. was quite a substantial source of revenue. I think it just depends on whether it aligns with who you are. And whether the sponsors that you get on board and the adverts that you have to actually align with your content. Because there's nothing worse than listening to a podcast, potentially, for example, on heart felt or heart centered coaches in the yoga world, and then listening to a podcast about, you know, data analytics and get your free subscription here. I mean, it just, I think most people know that. But sometimes you can get caught in that, oh, I really want the money from this. It would be very helpful right now, versus does this align with my mission and my show and the audience? So I think it's a personal decision you have to make whether you want to monetize it that way, because I also see other people monetizing through Patreon, or press patron, which is a New Zealand based one where it's like content and creator driven with supporters who appreciate your work.

So I'd say if I was looking at it and starting out afresh I would look at is there a way for me to promote my own Services offers etc. Is there a way to promote sponsors that align with what I'm doing? Or is there a way for the people who are listening to support my work and help cover some of the costs and effort of putting this out. So as long as there is a call to action or a way for you to actually earn from your podcast, I think if that's the angle that you want to go down, then there's plenty of ways you can get creative about it that will feel good to you.

Melissa Guller 33:27
It's so helpful to hear you explain all of those different routes, because I do think that there's maybe a misconception that sponsorship is the number one best, like golden metal of earning money through podcasting, but I'm definitely noticing that more and more people are promoting their own products and services and using the podcast as a way to create authority around what they're doing, which I think is really wonderful. And in particular, I love that you mentioned not just finding affiliate products or sponsorship, whatever it might be, that relates to your business. podcast, but to the episode specifically, I think that's such a good piece of advice, because I imagine it just feels very natural to talk about versus kind of an interruption right in the middle.

Natalie Sisson 34:10
Exactly. Yep, I think there's lots of good ways you can do it. And the more produced shows that I listened to these days are really good about segwaying into a sponsor spot by actually telling a story or having somebody from that business come on and talk about what they do and why it helps. And they put a lot more effort into producing something high class so that it doesn't sound blazingly like an ad smack in the middle of some really great content. And actually sounds like a really nice continuation of it. And it makes you want to learn more about the business and support them. So again, it comes back to how creative you want to be how much care you want to put into your podcast and how effective you want the advertising or the sponsors or the outreach to be

Melissa Guller 34:54
And do you think that there's a certain size you need to be before you start to think about monetizing or do you think people can start monetizing right away?

Natalie Sisson 35:03
I actually think you can start monetizing straightaway for two reasons. One, if that's how you want to launch your podcast, you kind of want people to get used to it from the get go. It's a little bit like when I built my email list for almost a year and a half before I offered anything, and by that stage, I felt I had built up a list of people who were just expecting free. So if you set your intention from the get go, and people know that there's going to be advertising or outreach, they learn to sort of accepted and they can choose to stick with you or go, Okay, this isn't my style. But it's not like it's just going to pop up later, after two years of free content. By the way, we've now got ads every single 10 minutes.

The other reason is that when I started, I did not have that many lessons like anybody starting out, but I think you can still approach businesses at that point. If you have a really clear vision for how you're going to grow your podcast and who the audiences even if you've got 100 to 1000 downloads a month of really super engaged listeners and a particular niche We'll be more than happy to get in front of that. I think podcasts are an incredible vehicle for businesses who support them to get people who absolutely would love this service. Because the person running the podcast knows who's listening, and knows them so well and why it's going to be a good fit. I was doing that well, before I had many downloads.

And I never used to write it on clicks, or CPC, I just didn't bother with any of that data. I said, Here's access to my email list. He has access to the blog, here's what I'm going to do for you, in addition to having this sponsor spot, and here's how we're going to build a relationship together. And they were more than willing to like, invest their, their money into the podcast. And as I grew, I could do more of that, and I could offer them more. So I made it rather than just Hey, there's going to be a 62nd ad spot. I really made it about building a relationship with businesses that I reached out to and thought it would be a good fit for my podcast.

Melissa Guller 36:54
I really love that idea. And I hope that listeners too are feeling inspired to think about creating really Like you said, not just creating a transaction, because for so much of both podcasting and business relationships are so important. And if you think about starting right from the get go with your podcast, I think it is such a great, empowering way to build those relationships at a foundational point. So I think that's such great advice. And before we did start to wrap up just for anyone listening, who is still in those early phases of launching a new podcast, or just a couple episodes in there any advice that you would want to share with those podcasters

Natalie Sisson 37:35
I really wish that they will have a game plan and they'll stick with it for at least six months or more. And to have a real strong why behind your podcast. I mean, it will probably come to you as you continue to do it. But without a strong why and a real purpose of plan as to why you're doing it. It's too easy to just sort of let it go because it can be a lot of effort. You do need to motivate yourself. You do need to be Be consistent with it, I think for it to really grow, people need to know that they're going to hear from you each week or each month, and you're going to turn up and commit and give them the best of the best. So to have a plan and a why behind it, it's going to make it that much easier to do that on the weeks when you're like, ah, and so that you actually fall in love with this medium versus treated as kind of an experiment. So I just think its goal and treat it as a business if you need and have a really strong why's to the reason you're doing it, and who you want to serve and how you want to help people and also what you want to learn and how you want to grow as a person. And I think it'll just be that much better.

Melissa Guller 38:34
So well said. Well, to close us out, maybe as an example, can you share your why and tell us a little bit more about your business and where people can learn more about you?

Natalie Sisson 38:44
Yeah, put me on the spot. Right. So my why was very clear. I mean, and guess who I helped over at Natalie Sisson calm as I help women entrepreneurs who want to get paid to be them by monetizing their sweet spot so their skills or experience and knowledge And turning that into multiple revenue streams that have an impact on other people as well as them. And my why right now is to help 1000 women in 10 k a month, and donate 1% of those revenues to causes that are really dear to their heart. And I know that by helping 1000 women over time, every single one of those women can step up and help other women. And then it becomes this beautiful Circular Economy of women rising up to help others succeed. So every single piece of content that I put out, every email I write every podcast I do, is With that in mind, and it's just really helped me to stay focused on the guests that I bring on the topics that I talk about, and how I show up and give. And yeah, it drives me to get out of bed every day and do the Mahi as we say and to do the work.

Melissa Guller 39:45
I love that, learn something new right now. And I know that you have a podcast episode about that as well. So I'll make sure to include a link in the show notes and where can people find you if they want to visit your website or where else on the internet?

Natalie Sisson 39:59
Yeah, I would like them to come across to Natalie Sisson comm I do have a free audio and guide there called Get Paid to Be YOU. So it's sort of nine steps to look at how you can monetize yourself if that helps people out right now. And I'd love some also to say hi on Twitter, or Instagram I'm at Natalie says and I'm pretty much Natalie Sisson everywhere on the web. So they will actually leave a message and say if they enjoyed the show, if they learned something from it, it's always really nice to know where people are tuning in from, and then actually have that conversation.

Melissa Guller 40:27
Amazing. Well, I know that I have learned so much already in this episode. And I hope that listeners are feeling the same way. So I just wanted to say thank you again for joining and for sharing hundreds of episodes worth of knowledge for us in a very short amount of time. I really appreciate it.

Natalie Sisson
You’re so welcome. Thank you so much for having me.

Melissa Guller
Thank you so much for joining us this week! To learn more about Natalie Sisson, Untapped, our free podcasting resources, and everything mentioned in today’s episode, check out the show notes at witandwire.com/5. The show notes also include an amazing resource from Natalie, where you can learn how to combine your knowledge, skills and passions into multiple income streams that amplify your purpose, impact and profit. Download Natalie’s 9 Step Audio and Get Paid to Be YOU Guide and get started today at nataliesisson.com/witandwire or through the link in the show notes.

Lastly, I do have a quick favor to ask before we go. If you’re enjoying the podcast, I hope you’ll let me know! I love reading through your reviews in Apple Podcasts, and if you have a minute to spare, I’d love to read yours, too. Reviews let Apple know that great listeners like you enjoy our show, and that helps us expand our reach in search results. So it really does make a difference.

Thank you again for joining me, Melissa Guller, in this episode of Wit & Wire. I’ll see you next time, podcasters.

Today’s Guest: Natalie Sisson

Natalie Sisson is a New Zealand entrepreneur, author, speaker, host of the ‘Untapped’ podcast and triathlete. After ditching a successful corporate career and co-founding a technology company, Natalie decided to monetize her humble, 6-month old blog, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, into a multiple-six figure online education platform back in 2010. 

In her efforts to continuously innovate, Natalie, the OG of digital nomads, has since turned that content and knowledge into 8 different revenue streams including digital products, courses, workshops, international retreats, and coaching. 

These days, she’s passionate about helping others leverage their unique set of skills, knowledge, and experience to earn a living and make an impact from anywhere, simply by being them.

Connect with Natalie:

“I find that my audience is my biggest source of inspiration because I can talk about all the things that interest me. But I really want to talk about the things that interest them and that are going to help them.”

Natalie Sisson, Untapped Podcast

Free Resource from Natalie: Get Paid to be YOU!

Natalie has such a generous free resource just for Wit & Wire listeners. She’ll teach you how to combine your knowledge, skills, and passions into multiple income streams that amplify your purpose, impact, and profit.

Download Natalie’s 9 Step Audio and Get Paid to Be YOU Guide and get started today: Get Paid to be YOU!

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