PP 022: Kate Erickson from EOFire

Kate gives us a glimpse at how she comes up with topics for her podcast, Kate’s Take: EOFire’s Audio Blog, how she and John Lee Dumas manage their busy podcasting lifestyles, and how missing out on a promotion was lucky and not a losing situation.

.@katelerickson & @thekimsutton discuss #podcasting, #blogging & #smallbiz: http://www.thekimsutton.com/pp022Click To Tweet

Resources Mentioned

Episode Transcription

KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity! This is your host, Kim Sutton, and today, I am thrilled to have guest Kate Erickson from EOFire (Entrepreneurs On Fire) with us. Welcome, Kate!

KATE: Kim, thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here and very grateful for you inviting me on.

KIM: Oh, I can’t even explain my excitement, so I’m just going to keep on going!

Kate started with EOFire with John Lee Dumas in 2013 as the content creator, and today is – would you say a “master implementer”?

KATE: Hahaha, that would—that’s actually pretty awesome. You know, we chatted briefly before this about how I just don’t even know what to call myself, but yeah let’s go with that!

KIM: Master implementer, there you go. Well, could you tell us – and any listeners who may not be familiar with you – about your journey?

KATE: Yeah, absolutely. So I grew up in San Diego, very typical like, go to school, get a job. I went to college, I got my graduate degree, I worked 9 to 5 all the time since I was like 15 or whatever, always in the corporate world, you know, envisioned my future being climbing the corporate ladder, and getting promotions, and hopefully one day being somewhere in management so that I could make a lot of money, so I could do all the things that… You know, kind of what our path is laid out for us to do.

And luckily – and I say luckily because it’s totally changed the course of my life – in 2011, I was working in a job in an H.R. department at a bank. I had been in the same position for about three and a half years, and you know, it was very monomo—monono—monom…

KIM: Positive Productivity, it’s not about perfection!

KATE: I’m so tongue-twisted! It was very repetitive, and I found myself going home at the end of the day just, like, thinking and hoping and wishing that there was more to life than what I was doing. Because I just couldn’t imagine living for my next vacation, or living for the weekend any more. I just knew that there had to be something else.

So fortunately, I lost a promotion after I’d been in that position for three and a half years. You know, the promotion was handed to me and then taken from me. And I say that luckily I lost it, because that’s what pushed me to take my entrepreneurial leap in 2011, and I’ve never looked back.

KIM: Oh, I hear that. I’m the lucky. I lost my job, and my life wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t, so I hear that completely.

So you are also the host of Kate’s Take, the EOFire online blog podcast – is that the appropriate way to say that?

KATE: Yeah, that’s perfect.

KIM: What has your journey been like jumping into your podcasts? And I have a follow-up question, so I apologize – I would also love to know how your working setup is, considering you and John live together and work together. How do you manage to both be recording without interrupting each other’s recording schedule?

KATE: That’s a great question, and I’ll actually take the latter part of the question first, and then I’ll go back to what it’s been like to create my own podcast.

In 2013, when John and I moved back to San Diego from Portland, Maine, we moved into a one-bedroom apartment. And we actually shared this really super long desk that we put out in our living room, because we kind of both agreed that having our office in our bedroom wasn’t a great setup – plus, the bedroom wasn’t really big enough for that anyway.

And we worked side by side at the same desk for almost a year until we moved into a two-bedroom, and I took the extra room as an office, and John had his set up in a separate part of the house.

Today, that’s how it is, too. We’ve upgraded bedroom space again, so luckily both of us have our completely own offices where we get to close the door. And so, what it was like back in 2013 – to try and plan around each other’s recording schedule – is a whole lot different now!

So you know, we are very cognizant and conscious, though, of each other’s schedules, and we share calendars so that we can always see that. So if I see that John has like an entire interview day scheduled for EOFire, I kind of – our offices share a wall, so I kind of just reserve that day as like a working day. I won’t record that day, just because I don’t want either of us to be distracted by that. And luckily that works out for us.

But going back to your question about, you know, starting my own podcast, that was like such a huge leap for me. Because when I joined the team at EOFire, I had like a lot of things holding me back, I guess is the blatant way to put it.

And one of those things was not really feeling like I had a strong voice, not really feeling like people would care what I had to say, not really feeling like I had much to share – because I didn’t realize how every experience that I’d had up to that point could be valuable to other people. They were just my experiences, and so I didn’t really think of them as extraordinary or, you know, valuable, I guess.

When I started to realize that that was not the case, and I stopped playing those victim role and continuing to let the impostor syndrome hold me back and all these fears keeping me from doing what I knew I could do, but that I was just scared to do… That’s when I launched my podcast, and I launched my podcast because it was – literally, Kim – the most uncomfortable thing in the world for me at that time. And I knew that I had to do it for that very reason.

KIM: I can completely relate, and I have to thank you and John, because you were the kick I needed to finally launch, so thank you! I believe I spoke in the earlier podcast episode about how one of my big high school reunions is coming up next year, and I graduated in a huge class of about 600 – well, it’s big to me – and I don’t think most of my classes probably see my face outside of the yearbook picture.

So to actually be on a podcast, speaking to the world? It’s a little bit unnerving at first.

KATE: It really is, but so empowering and like – special, too because of the connections that you get to make. I mean, you and I wouldn’t be chatting right now, Kim, if it wasn’t for your podcast, and that’s a really amazing thing. So congrats on your launch!

KIM: Oh, thank you, and you’re absolutely right.

I listened to Episode Number 100 – plus a few more of yours, actually – last night, and it was the first interview that you had with a guest in, and I believe it was on 100 or 101. How did you come up with content for a hundred episodes solo before you even got to that point? That blows my mind!

KATE: Well, thank you! So, the podcast that I launched wasn’t your typical podcast. I didn’t have – to your point – guests on my show, which a lot of people start out or continue on forever with guests, because… Well, finding and having guests agree to be on your show is definitely a lot of work (and something I don’t think people realize all the time)!

It would seem like a lot of work to me, versus just repurposing content that I had already created. So I started with EOFire back in April of 2013, and one of the first things I did when I came onboard was I started the blog on our website, because we didn’t have a blog before that. I love, love writing, and so I thought, “What better way than to combine my expertise of writing and, you know, just add something to the blog that’s going to be of value, and could perhaps increase our visitors, and all that good stuff?”

So I didn’t launch the podcast until August of 2014, so that entire year-plus – from April 2013 to August 2014 – I was publishing posts on the blog. I started daily, and then after two months, I realized that was crazy, and I knew that my content was starting to suffer on the blog. So I backed down to three times per week, and eventually today, I do seasons on the podcast.

But – sorry to get off track there – my whole point is that, my podcast is an audio blog. So, what I do is I publish a post on our blog, and then I read that in the audio format for people who may not want to go to a website, who may not have time to sit down and read something. So I love providing it in the podcast format.

That’s why podcasting is so powerful, is because people can consume and listen to that content without having to be sitting in front of a computer focused on reading my words.

So when I launched in 2014, I had over a year’s worth of content that I went back to, and I repurposed that material into audio posts.

KIM: How do you come up with ideas for your posts? And how do you record them if you – and I don’t mean record them verbally, per se – but how do you record your ideas if you are not in a place where you can sit down and write the blog right then?

KATE: So, for both – well, the way that I get topics and ideas is, Number One: We’re very lucky to have a very engaged audience. Fire Nation is amazing, and they never hesitate to reach out to us.

So any e-mails – in the “early days”, quote-unquote (I feel old for saying that), but back in 2013 when I was very first starting to write the blog, what I did to get content topic ideas… And this actually later turned into a book and a course that we created – this is exactly how I figured out what to put in those posts, which later became a book, which then became a course, is: I checked a box in our email service provider to have an alert sent to my e-mail inbox every time somebody signed up for our e-mail list.

Back then, it was maybe five people a day. You know, we weren’t getting hundreds and hundreds of subscribers. So it was manageable, and it was easy for me to dedicate that time to something that was going to give me something so huge in return. So every time I got a notification that somebody had signed up for our e-mail lists, I personally sent them an e-mail from my Gmail account welcoming them to our email list, thanking them for signing up, and asking them what their number-one struggle was right then.

And some people responded, some people didn’t, but those people who responded? They were the ones that gave me the exact topics that I wrote about for the first few months of the blog, really.

They would come back with questions; they would come back with struggles; they would come back with what was holding them back on their entrepreneurial journey. And every single one of those emails was a topic for me to potentially explore further, to research – and especially when I started hearing the same things over and over and over from people, that was a sign for me like, “Hey, this is something I need to write about.”

So that’s how I would get my topics. Now, I listen to other people’s podcasts in our industry and niche. I read other people’s blog – there’s tons of people who I consider mentors out there – I follow their podcasts and their blogs, and sometimes I get ideas from them. Maybe they’re talking about what bonuses you should create for courses, or how to deal with mindset shifts in your entrepreneurial journey. And now, I feel like I know the Kate’s Take listeners well enough that when I hear things and topics on other shows, I think, “Hey, maybe that’d be a good thing for me to write about, too.”

Now, to your point about keeping ideas and writing them down right when I hear them if I’m not at my computer, I use this incredible tool called WorkFlowy. And it’s a free online note-taking platform, I guess you’d call it – and I have it both on desktop, and they have a mobile app.

So if I’m ever outrunning listening to a podcast, which happens to me often, and I think, “Oh, my gosh – I feel like this topic would really hit home!” I’ll pull up my WorkFlowy on my phone, and I’ll add it to my notes section. And I have a heading that is “Potential Kate’s Take Topics”, and I’ll just write a short synopsis of whatever it is that I’m thinking about writing about so that I know I can go back to it any time.

KIM: I have WorkFlowy – I haven’t quite used it yet – but I have the same method through Evernote, because mine usually come when I’m driving or at the grocery. So I love it, that’s exactly what I do.

KATE: Awesome.

KIM: Yeah. As a mom of five, too, sometimes I just – it’s just not going to happen for me to sit down and write. So I’ll transcribe the whole – well, not the whole article – but just transcribe it into Evernote, and then copy into my site.

So you and John just recently relocated from San Diego right down to – oh, my gosh, we discussed this pre-show, I cannot say it properly – Puerto Rico!

KATE: Yes!

KIM: Could you—how was that journey? What was that transition like, and how complicated was it to actually move away from the continental States?

KATE: Well, it’s definitely still a transition, I will say that much. We moved in May of 20— of this year, of 2016. And you know, we came to the island not being familiar with the island. We didn’t really know where we wanted to live, or where we would end up permanently. So what we did is we rented an AirBnB for two months, which allowed us to really explore the island, get to know different parts of it, and settle on where we wanted to live moving forward.

So the first two months were really a lot of exploring, and you know, making sure that our office was set up so that we could continue to do what we do on a daily basis to keep the business running.

Luckily, the systems that we have in place for the business have allowed us to do this. Without the systems we have in place – oh, my goodness – we would have never been able to make this transition successfully. Meaning, like actually get ourselves here and settled, and run the business at that— I mean, you could do it, but it would be very difficult. The only reason that we’ve been able to keep up the business the way we have is because of our system.

So, you know, we’re learning a lot of lessons. We are experiencing new things every day, we’re getting to know a new culture… It’s been really incredible for that, and that’s a big reason why we took this leap and why we decided to move to Puerto Rico – is for the adventure. John and I always talk about travel; we both have a strong passion for visiting new places, trying new things. And so taking this leap has been quite the adventure for us, for sure.

There’s been, you know, certain challenges – we didn’t realize that the language barrier would be as great as it is. There’s not a ton of English spoken on the island, and being a U.S. commonwealth, you know, I naively thought that more people would speak English. So that’s been a challenge for us. We’re learning Spanish as fast as we possibly can.

And besides that, you know, it’s just getting settled into a new area. There’s a lot of emotional things going on. You know, we both left families – our parents and sisters and all that good stuff – and so you know, we’re working on that every single day, but we’re feeling more and more settled everyday too.

KIM: And your productivity is probably increasing each day that you’re settled as well.

KATE: Absolutely.

KIM: Which drives us into your new project, “The Self-Mastery Journal”, right? Which is coming out soon?

KATE: Yes, it’s called The Mastery Journal. We’ll be launching that in January of 2017. We’re very excited about that!

KIM: Fabulous! So, are you accepting pre-orders on that, or how can listeners find out more about it?

KATE: Yeah, so The Mastery Journal is something that John’s been working on for almost all of 2016. And he’s so, so passionate about it, because what he’s doing with The Mastery Journal is creating a guide for people who want to become masters of productivity, discipline, and focus.

That’s something that we hear from a lot of people that is tough. I can totally resonate with that; it’s tough for me too. These happen to be three of John’s biggest strengths – productivity, discipline, and focus – and so he’s put this guide together to help others, you know, start to follow a routine and follow a schedule to where productivity, discipline, and focus can become things that you master in your everyday, too.

If people want to sign up for updates – we don’t have pre-orders yet, because we’re going to be probably launching it on Kickstarter or a similar platform – but we have an email campaign open right now where we’re giving, like true, to-the-minute updates on that – just a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to create a journal, and this journey that we’re on with creating this.

So if anybody is interested in learning more, that’s over at TheMasteryJournal.com.

KIM: Thank you so much for all of that. Kate, I want to thank you so much for being here. I know the listeners have enjoyed it, I’ve listened – yeah, thank goodness for editors – I’ve enjoyed it greatly. Where can listeners find out more about you and listen to your podcast?

KATE: Well Kim, thank you, first off, so much for having me on today! It’s been such a pleasure reconnecting with you and getting to talk on the phone or Skype, rather than just via email.

So everything that John and I do is over at EOFire.com, so if you want to check out the podcasts or anything else we have going on, that is our home base.

KIM: Fabulous. Thank you, Kate, for being here again. It has been a pleasure.

KATE: Kim, thank you so much.