Building a Community with @CorporateSchoolDropouts

Bringing you the third #desIGnLIVE all the way from Bali, Indonesia! This episode’s guest: Kathryn Joachim of Creme Brands. Kathryn is an incredibly talented brand designer for Wedding Industry professionals, and creative small business owners, and we got REALLY real on this desIGn Live talking about our own creative struggles. I’m not kidding when I say I think this was the best live yet!


Q: You just launched your podcast yesterday! What have your emotions been over the last 24 hours?

A: OMG it felt like my birthday! It was so exciting! I followed Pat Flynn’s Power Up Podcasting tutorial basically and he said ‘on launch day make sure you spend time communicating with your audience and I started at 6:30 in the morning and I went all the way until I went to bed at like 10 o’clock at night. DMs, comments, texts, reviews, everything! And I was like ‘omg I had no idea that it was gonna be this big’. It was so invigorating!


Q: What is CSD for anyone who doesn’t know? And why you started it?

A: CSD is a motivational, inspirational podcast where I interview people who have left the corporate world, so left the 9-5, to start a new career, new life, new something. Not everybody jumped into a small business, like you’ll hear in the episodes there’s a myriad of stories, but they just left the corporate world to start something new for themselves.


Q: How long ago did you know you wanted to start a podcast?

A: I always go back to about 4 years ago when I was sitting in the corporate world, listening to podcasts to support my situation shifting. Michelle coached me right back and said, “what’s your plan?” and I was like “I have no plan.” I was like ‘surely this isn’t that difficult.’ and the more research I started doing, the more I was like ‘oh I can’t wing this. It’s too big. It’s too important.’ and so I basically took myself through my coaching business plan and did the entire process. So like what problem am I solving? What audience am I connecting to? I did a ton of market research over Thanksgiving where I just sat in my uncle’s leather chair and went through iTunes and searched every female business podcast that I could find and I looked at their colors, their content, how long their episodes were, what did I like, what did I not like… so it was just a ton of actually backend planning that, of course, I never knew it was there until I started diving in. Then I realized I need support on how to actually do the podcast so that’s when I bought Pat Flynn’s course because I was like ‘well I can do all of this backend planning, but I don’t actually know how to do the podcast.’

Q: So you had the idea, what do you do next? How did you decide what you were going to tackle first?

A: The barriers of entry for me is that I live in a small house under a flight pattern. So I knew that I could not record at home, so I was like ‘ok, that’s out.’ My co-working space that I was in didn’t have quiet rooms, so I couldn’t record there. I had to actually make the decision to leave my co-working space, which really sucked, but I had to do it, because I needed the funds to record in a professional studio and luckily, right at the time I needed to record, a new studio opened in San Diego and I was their first client. Perfect timing. Beta House Studios. They’re absolutely amazing and they made the experience so much more enjoyable that I didn’t have to learn the technical side - because that’s what I was really worried about. I was like ‘I don’t have time to edit sound or edit audio. I don’t know how to edit audio. I can’t afford to do all of this.’ so I was like ‘how can I outsource?’ The whole thing just fell into place right as it needed to happen and the studio was absolutely wonderful to work with. I just had to show up. They plugged in all my equipment. They said this is what you need. I literally just walk in and they test all the sound, so I didn’t have to worry about all of that and I’ve actually gotten some great reviews that the sound is great.


Q: It is super important to grow a community and an audience, how did you do this before you launched?

A: I started a private Facebook group and started inviting the people that I already knew were dropouts and then I started dropping the link in other Facebook groups and they were like ‘hey promote yourself’ so make sure you follow instructions when another FB group says ‘do not self promote unless its on our days’ they’re serious about that. So on days they allow self promotion, I would just drop the link and honestly it was a landing page until last week, so it was just a landing page to get on my mailing list and I started sharing the backend process of the launching of a podcast and then once they got into the group I just started asking questions and started to try to build a schedule and a rhythm for how we could all collaborate. It’s kind of taking a life of its own, which I’m absolutely wanted it to do, where other people are asking questions and asking for support in each other, helping each other, so I’m not the one always responding. I always make sure I respond, but I’m not always the first one. Then I did do Instagram, but that kinda came a little bit later. But really the private FB group is what started the community.


Q: How did you source your guests for your podcast?

A: So the same thing of building a community of dropping the link… I created a landing page for submitting your story and told a little bit about my story on the landing page and said ‘is this you too?’ and I just started dropping that as well. So friends and family just starting sharing it on Facebook, so I didn’t actually advertise besides just dropping the link and some people, some of us have no idea how we connected, it was like ‘oh I just found you.’

Now that the process is up. You can submit your story through the website, it populates into a spreadsheet and then I contact you through the spreadsheet. Send you a link to schedule a time, so first I have a 15-20 minute interview with the person to give them a lay of the land to tell them about the process, what sort of questions I ask, to see if we have chemistry to see if we can have a conversation for 30-45 minutes, not everybody has a good interview. So they have that conversation, and then what I did for the first season one was I had already had those mini interviews with so many people, I was like ‘ok I gotta start recording if I want to launch at this certain time.’ so I batch recorded. So every thursday for a month, I recorded 3 episodes. So I’m already done with season one, so I don’t have to record for another month or two. I didn’t know I was going to do it that way, but when I started planning it, I was like ‘well this is a big ol waste of time to drive every day’ so I just did it once a week and then I sent out an email to everybody that I already talked to and said here’s the plan, here’s the Calendly link, book your time and basically I just sat back and waited for everyone to book their time and it filled up within 24 hours. I felt that it wasn’t up to me to decide whether someone had a good story or not, so I’ve interviewed everyone to the best of my ability and you know, some people will resonate with some stories and some people won’t. But I felt like it wasn’t up to me. I was just the catalyst to provide the platform.


Q: Many creatives are starting podcasts these days. How is CSD different? Are you running it as an education tool or as it’s own business? What is your business plan?  

A: So as a business, I realized a few weeks ago, I was like, ‘hold on a second. I’m collecting so much information. People are telling me their stories, so I want to turn that into multiple platforms to continue reaching more people. So whether that’s CSD vol.1 in a book to tell those stories… and then one of my life goals is to be on Ted Talks and I feel like pulling all of this information together and I just feel like pulling all of that together, maybe this year or next year, to share all of my story on a bigger stage and share how people are resonating with the podcast because they’re in the same place. So the business side is continuing to reach out for more people and I think that’ll come as the podcast gets bigger. I’m not letting myself start another project this year to focus on the podcast, to provide quality content, before I start focusing on a book, or starting a speaking series. So I just want to sit in this space for the rest of the year.


Q: How to break through a saturated market and get people to care?

A: I stopped worrying about what everyone else is doing because I knew that I had a specific message and I’m staying on message. I had somebody reach out to me to tell her story and she was like ‘I really want to tell the other side of the story of how you can stay in the corporate world and side hustle.’ and I was like ‘I’m sorry that’s not the message.’ I’m appreciative, but that’s not the message. So really just not caring what everyone else is doing and knowing that I have a specific voice and my audience wants to hear more people telling their story. I’ve already gotten reviews, which is so exciting, and the first one I cried because it was just so, just tears of joy, being validated, that what I was providing was what somebody wanted to hear. Like I had this idea but then somebody saying “i’ve been waiting for this podcast.”


Want to connect with Corporate School Dropouts?
Follow Lauren on Instagram, or reach out via her website.