5 Podcasts You Need to Check Out

I’ve been off the radar for the past week. Any spare moment in the car, out walking, around the house has been spent hooked up to the memoir Alone: A Love Story. Michelle Parise’s lilting voice has been in my ear, regaling me with her epic tale of heartbreak and the breakdown of her marriage after an infidelity. I’ve never listened to a podcast with such obsession. I’m four episodes from the end of the 20 episode marathon. And it’s very much been my kind of marathon. Here’s why you should give it a listen, along with 4 others that are my current faves.

Alone: A Love Story

For when you have time on your hands and want to be swept away by a great story

Set to a kick-ass soundtrack, the story of Michelle’s relationship and its subsequent breakdown is completely addictive. It moves seamlessly back and forth to reveal more and more details of her love story. It’s also brutally honest. Michelle holds nothing back when sharing intimate details of her relationship with The Husband, later The Ex-Husband and her subsequent lovers. The story is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, awkward, moving and brave.

Being Boss

For when you need a no bullshit business boost or someone to talk some sense into you

I feel like I talk about his podcast a lot. Partly, that’s because since I’ve discovered it, I’ve been keenly exploring the very extensive back catalogue. Even though Kathleen and Emily have been recording since January 2015, there’s no need to listen in order. I just pick and choose the episode topics that interest me the most. Over the years, they’ve hosted some pretty inspiring guests too, like Brene Brown who spoke about creative vulnerability, and Danetha Doe who chatted money, mindset and energy. I feel a strange synchronicity with this podcast, where new episodes often align with some element of business that’s been on my mind. Spooky.

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For when you're behind on current events and the stuff everyone’s talking about

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales are funny. Really funny. Their conversation rambles, taking many twists and turns, but it’s always intelligent and entertaining. 30 minutes snappy episodes, where you get to eavesdrop on some highly engaging, witty chatting.

Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution

For when you’d love a bit of a history lesson and to celebrate your love of all things Oprah

I recently came across this fantastic WBEZ Chicago podcast Making Oprah. 30 years since Oprah debuted, it tracks her journey in a three-part series. It was fascinating to learn about the early days of the show, to hear from Oprah herself, rival Phil Donahue and a bunch of her former staffers. On my must-listen list is the latest WBEZ podcast Making Obama, a 6 part story of his climb from Chicago to national stage as US President. I can’t wait!

The Slow Home Podcast

For when you need to slow down, or when you feel disconnected

This podcast was recommended to me by a friend, who I consider to be fairly mindful and calm. I confess it took me a while to get around to it, but now I look forward to spending time with husband and wife Brooke and Ben as they talk topics such as, the joy of doing nothing, the importance of getting back into nature, presence over presents and many more. When I’m feeling a bit bogged down in ‘stuff’ or ‘busyness’, tuning into The Slow Home reminds me of the importance of slowing down and of reconnecting. Simple stuff, but somehow so hard to do sometimes.

Enjoy discovering a newbie or two from this list. There’s something there for whatever mood you find yourself in. I’d love to know some of your favourite podcasts, too.

Be in touch and tell me what I should listen to next!

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Sophie Walker, podcaster, Australian Birth Stories

If you’re anything like me, perhaps podcasts have only recently come on to your radar. But now that I’ve discovered them, there’s no looking back. Goodbye dull commute or aimless walk, hello opportunity for learning, laughing, mindfulness or anything in between. Check back here in a couple of weeks, when I’ll let you in on my current faves. In the meantime, here’s an up-close-and-personal with Sophie Walker, the woman behind one of them. In case you missed it, Australian Birth Stories was one of the hottest podcasts to drop last year!

Sophie lives in Melbourne with her husband and their two young boys. Holding a Master of Public Health, she was interested in babies and birth from a young age. While pregnant with Niko (4), she immersed herself in all things birth, dreaming of a drug-free, birth centre experience. Despite her plans to the contrary, Sophie had a 36-hour labour, complete with hospital transfer, induction, epidural, episiotomy, forceps and then a postpartum haemorrhage. Second time around, she researched like crazy to prepare for another attempt at an unmedicated birth centre birth. Juggling a toddler and a part-time job, podcasts were a good option as they could be listened to ‘on the go’.

After achieving a beautiful birth with Louis (2), Sophie was inspired to create the Australian Birth Stories podcast. It is an important collection of varied women’s birth stories from right across Australia. I’ve known Sophie for many years and have been so excited to watch her rise up the podcast ranks. She’s a warm, friendly and determined woman. Enjoy the read, and then be sure to check out the podcast for yourself.

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In the work you do, how important are the right words?

In my current line of work, they’re essential. It can be so easy to offend people when it comes to birth. I try to steer clear of terms like ‘natural birth’ if I can. There are many negative connotations with other words in my field, such as epidural and induction. It’s so important that I’m always mindful of how I come across when interviewing women and discussing birth.

What gets you up in the morning?

My 4 year-old and way too early. We tend to start the day at 6am. On a professional note, the emails and messages I get daily from women saying I helped and inspired them to have a great birth. This is something I never really considered when I first started the show.

What led you to your current career choice?

I studied and worked in public health for many years, most recently in cancer research. I have a Master of Public Health and love working and talking to people. An obsession with birth, women’s health and podcasts led me to try my hand at starting my own podcast.

What are the most effective ways you market your podcast?

Without the finance for a marketing budget, I’m currently relying on word of mouth and Instagram.

What have you learnt about the world of podcasting since you began Australian Birth Stories?

Consistency is the key. Oh, and editing takes 10 times longer than I ever plan for. Although I know podcasts are available on a global scale, I never expected to have weekly listeners in countries such as Romania, Spain and Pakistan. It’s mind-blowing. I’ve also learn that while it’s great to be regularly ranking in the top 5, nothing beats getting a personal email from someone saying how they used something they learnt from the podcast in their own labour.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to other podcasters?

Only begin if you can keep up with the schedule you have set for yourself. If you say you’ll be releasing a weekly show, have four shows ready to be released before you launch. In the early days, I found myself ringing around friends the day before the show was due to air as I had nothing to release for that week. Thankfully, I now have around 150 people on the waiting list, so a shortage of stories is no longer an issue!

When you’re not listening back to ABS episodes, what podcasts are your faves?

I love This American Life, Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, and Ladies, We Need to Talk.

You can find Sophie and the Australian Birth Stories podcast here.

Need a hand generating content or communications for your creative business or side hustle? Let me help!

Book Review - Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur by Kate Toon

I first came along Kate Toon back in 2016 when I was still summoning up the courage to call myself a copywriter, despite already taking on clients. I was doing a lot of research to try and educate myself about the industry and current trends, when I discovered the gold nugget that is the ‘Hot Copy’ podcast. This podcast about all things copywriting is hosted by Kate and her partner-in-crime Belinda Weaver. I related instantly to these two because they are natural, no-frills presenters who speak honestly about the peaks and troughs of copywriting and freelance life.

Gradually over the months that followed, I continued to listen. I began to understand and relate to much of the content, and to take on board advice offered by the pair. I also started to tell people who asked what I did, I’m a copywriter. Eeep, scary! But, of course, nobody argued with me. Instead they wanted to know more about my work.

Flash forward to the middle of this year, with my business Instagram and website up and running, and my portfolio of work building. I even took the bold step of purchasing accounting software. No matter what I did though, I just didn’t quite feel like a small business owner, whatever that was supposed to feel or be like.

Enter Kate Toon again with her book Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur.

Kate has written a book about small business and freelance life that is unlike any other business book I’ve ever clapped my eyes on. She is brutally honest about what the process was like for her and how many ‘rules’ she broke along the way. Kate’s book is divided into chapters, each of which tackles a popular entrepreneurial myth. She responds to each in turn, blasting some out of the water and compromising where others are concerned. I found it so refreshing to hear about someone’s unconventional journey.

Kate’s style is wry and humorous at times, and she tells it likes she means it. Whilst I don’t relate to all aspects of her story - (Um, I don’t have three burgeoning business just yet! I also can’t work in my pyjamas because it just doesn't feel right) - I found it a real page-turner. Kate’s tone is natural, relatable, and definitely no-nonsense. One of the best pieces of advice she offers is to stop comparing yourself to other people and she has a great point. Since finishing the book, I’ve curbed my Insta-stalking, focusing on being me and doing my own thing, without worrying so much about what others think.

I would recommend this book to freelancers or small business owners, or even those with an inkling they might like to venture down this path. I finished the book feeling more positive and knowing there’s more than one way of achieving small business success.

To learn more about me and how I do business in my own way, click here.

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