PP 144: Not Doing It Alone with Mykella Van Cooten

Quick Show Notes: Mykella Van Cooten

Mykella Van Cooten and Kim chat about the tasks and systems involved in producing a podcast, the importance of a team, multitasking and more!

.@sparkle_podcast and @thekimsutton chat about the systems involved in producing a podcast and the importance of teams: https://thekimsutton.com/pp144 #positiveproductivity #podcast #podcaster #podcastingClick To Tweet

Resources Mentioned

Indie Games

Episode Transcription: Mykella Van Cooten

Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host Kim Sutton and today I am thrilled to have Mykella Van Cooten of Vancouver. I got that right, right.

Mykella Van Cooten: Yes, that’s that’s good.

Kim Sutton: Listeners, you know, I am not always great with names. I want to be but I’m just not. Mykella is the founder and host of sparkle podcast. Mykella, I am thrilled that you are here with us today.

Mykella Van Cooten: Thank you. It’s great. It’s amazing. Looking forward to it.

Kim Sutton: Oh, you’re very welcome. I would love if you would jump right in and share some of your background with the listeners so they can get to know you as a person and also as a podcast host.

Mykella Van Cooten: Awesome. Well, my name is Mykella and I, as you said, the founder and host of Sparkle Podcast. And let’s see, I’ve been a journalist for over 20 years. And I also have an administration background. So kind of building both skills, I guess, at the same time, mostly through managing offices in publishing and then becoming an editor and a writer.

Mykella Van Cooten: And yeah, so as most… I don’t know, if I want to say most… people do come from corporate, I was working basically in different kinds of roles in corporate. My last was in education where I got to use my marketing communication skills, which is cool, but I left that and decided it was time to go out on my own.

Mykella Van Cooten: And so I started as a virtual assistant and I also do some project management. But my love is my podcast. And it’s called Sparkle Podcast, and it illuminates the careers of indie female artists. So indie meaning not just independent, but people you may never have heard of, because they’re not on a record label. And yeah, it’s, it’s, I love it. And it’s fun. And I’m growing a lot, and I’m meeting great people. And I’m also going to be expanding the brand. So that’s pretty exciting as well.

Kim Sutton: Oh, that’s very exciting. How long did it take you from the time when you thought of your podcast to actually getting it launched? And what did that journey look like for you?

Mykella Van Cooten: Well, I connected with someone online who has a radio online radio network, and she was looking for podcasters with great ideas. And that was in August of 2016. And we talked, just basically told her what I wanted to do and she was like all for it. And I realized then I had to learn a couple things.

Kim Sutton: Like making sure your recording software’s working?

Mykella Van Cooten: Yes. Yeah, I had to learn, like how to do the recording. Luckily, I have a friend who is music producer and has all those kind of skills and he helps me do my first few calls, because some of them are on Skype and some of them are live where we, you know, borrowed mics and we, you know, kind of did kind of splicing together of both sides of the audio. It was a lot of work and I had no idea how much work it was going to be and even just getting it set up like finding artists getting them to sign a waiver and, you know, creating a schedule like you know what time of the month is the episode going to arrive? And how much time do I have to edit it? and all that good stuff. So I’ve learned a lot.

Mykella Van Cooten: So our first podcast was October, the first week of October, And we’ve been going ever since. And we have a podcast every month. Now actually go into a studio, a physical recording studio, we if it’s if the person is in Toronto, where I’m from, we record live, and a studio engineer then edits everything. And I don’t have… the only thing I have to do is tell them where I want the edits done, and it’s done. So that is nice that I don’t have to do all the running around trying to sort that out anymore.

Mykella Van Cooten: And I also have a VA so she does a lot of the chasing down of waivers and, and getting all the artists BIOS and pictures and and stuff so, so yeah, I’ve grown and it’s great. I’m enjoying it.

(Transcription still being edited. Thanks for checking it out!)

Kim Sutton: The Positive Productivity podcast also launched in October, the first week. Have October of 2016. That’s awesome. Yeah, I think the first episode was on October 4, and what a whirlwind like you were saying, and I had an editing team who started with me, but they had to cut back. So I tried for a couple months to edit my own episodes. Whoa, with a nurse. It’s not my recommendation to do that. That’s of work. And my team is finally coming together with the, with everybody doing tasks that I don’t need to be doing and it feels so wonderful. Doesn’t it feel just incredible when you are responsible for the recording and you’ve got other people?

Oh, yeah, I can’t live without it. I can’t really. I couldn’t take that work back from them. Because I can’t do it. Like I have two other companies and I can’t do it like I just couldn’t physically do it. So team is really important, and finding the right people, but it isn’t too difficult to find the right people, I think you kind of just have to go with your gut, pick somebody and give them a shot. And you know, if it doesn’t work out, you can end the relationship, but I think people get afraid of having someone else in their business. You know, so you know, kind of, you know, having their passwords or are like, having some control over their baby. And I think that the only way to be successful is to not do it alone.

That’s a very incredible point right there, especially about passwords. And, you know, we, you and I haven’t chatted a lot, but some of the listeners may know that I also started my business as a virtual assistant when I left corporate. Oh, yeah. So what is do you have a preferred password tool that you’d like to use with your team?

And no,

I know there’s lies at LastPass LastPass my

Team lives with LastPass. And I absolutely love it. Because just as you said, it can be scary to give up your passwords to people. And, and as you said, scary when you don’t know them. And I agree with you hire them, try them out. If they don’t work out, you can always end the relationship but LastPass and know the positive productivity podcast is not sponsored by LastPass. But we’re open to offer. But it makes it so easy because I have had those situations where I have had to let team members go who just didn’t work out. And I was able to go in on the admin side and one click shut off all their their access and didn’t have to worry about spending hours right changing passwords on

Yeah, yeah, I mean that definitely it’s a good tool. I’m not. For me, it’s just one more system. I’m not interested in trying to learn so and use I used it when I was working for someone who was very, very much wanted to use that. I, I’m just I would rather just change passwords, but I haven’t had to do that. So I kind of just stick stuck with the same person because she’s good. So, so far so good. But yeah, like there’s so many tools as a project manager, which is another rule that I have in my work life. Yeah, tools are super important. All the options for online project management tools are like I couldn’t literally live without them. I use them for my projects, use them for client projects. It’s it’s you can’t really live without them. I can’t really imagine that because I don’t know what you have spreadsheets everywhere. Would you be like, I don’t know storing everything in email. I don’t really know what people would do if they if you’re not really trying to use a project management software.

What project management software do you use?

I prefer teamwork in Trello I Use Asana not my favorite, but teamwork and Trello are my main ones. They work for me. So yeah.

I was going through some of the podcast cards in Trello this morning. And it’s amazing, isn’t it? How many different tasks you can have set up just for one podcast, for example?

And oh, or Yeah,

I think there’s like 22 different tasks. I mean, when you break it all out separately?

Oh, for sure. Yeah, of course, because you have to contact people. I try to make the first contact and I let people in because it’s music it’s because I like their music. And so I’m letting them know that I like their music and inviting them to be on the show. And then my virtual assistant will send them the waiver that that has to get signed, and that takes up sometimes several call several emails a follow up. So those are you know, like three tasks right there. And then they we have to get a bio some people they may not Have a BIOS that they need to work on that and then they need to send it and we need a picture of them that we can use and then go into the studio. And then we do the recording. And then I get the recording back the raw recording, and then I go through and pick what I’d like to edit out. And then the engineer puts that all in puts the outro on the intro on and adds tracks because it’s music, so he asked to include the tracks. So yeah, I mean, that’s why I’m glad that most of that I don’t have to do anything. Right.

And that’s even before marketing when it releases, which is just huge. Yeah. Michela if you could go back to when you were a teenager, and tell yourself what you are doing now. Do you think your younger self would be scared or excited?

Or a little bit of both?

Scared of what I’m doing now?


Oh, Ah, no excited. Now what

do you dream of being when you were?

Oh, that I thought I was going to be a psychologist but um, I don’t think I was truly in touch with myself at the time. So I am a creative person. So yes, I have those skills I, you know, started a master’s in, in counseling and didn’t finish it because I was like, that’s not really what I want to do. But I have the skills and I have the brains but so yeah, I couldn’t really say that I knew myself well enough at that age, and I don’t know many, many people do, to know where things are gonna go and know how happy it would be doing what I’m doing.

How often do you find yourself multitasking?

Everyday all the time?

Do you think it’s possible to not multitask?

Sometimes I force myself not to like if I really want. I noticed that like there’s favorite shows that I have. And those are what I watch. And I watch them online. So I skipped You know kind of schedule a time and watch them and when I’m on my phone I realized that I didn’t really enjoy what I just watched but it was really something that I use for enjoyment. So now I will shut off my phone or or put it far away and I never really have my ringer on so to downtime to create real true downtime, because it’s really important or otherwise you burn out so I do multitask all the time. But sometimes I just have to consciously turn it off.

curious minds including mine want to know what are the shows that you watch?

Oh, I love the voice. I love the bachelor and the bachelorette and Big Bang Theory. Those would be my absolute favorites and then you know on snow Island like Bordeaux, definitely binge watch Netflix. Well, oranges, a new black on Netflix.

Yes. Do you have any idea when that’s coming back out again?

No, it’s taking forever but I think the last season was in the summer of last year. I think it’s in the summer again. So yeah, like when something cool comes on Netflix, I will binge watch that and that’s kind of like my other downtime as well. So those are the things I like.

I binge watch. Orange is the New Black in Game of Thrones, which are both summer so I’m looking forward to summer, isn’t it? It sounds sort of funny to say I’m looking forward to summer in sunny weather, but I’m really looking forward for the two shows that I really love to watch.

I feel the same way because the bachelorettes coming on soon and then after that is bachelor in paradise. Oh my god, I love that show. Oh my god. so juicy. Yeah, so yeah, I mean Should I do leave my house but I do love my TV. That’s kind of always been something that relaxes me and engages me people. You know there’s outdoors, people who love to go bike riding and I like to watch shows. I like to watch. I’m an entertainment person. Right.

What do you see as being part of your bigger vision for the sparkle brand?

Oh, yeah, for sure. Um, okay, so obviously, you have the podcast. And so we are in the process of create. So the podcast is currently on. I’m in Canada. I’m Canadian on an American radio network, which is great. But I want to create a hub for all of our content. So we are in the process of creating this amazing website. That will be where you can access all of the recordings. And then of course, you can also go to other places to find it, which will be affiliates or syndicates, if you want to call that. And then I’m also creating new content. So I’m also doing interviews with artists who’ve been around a long time, who will provide tips education information for artists coming up. Like how to to copyright, your work, your songs, how to promote yourself how to create a team, those kinds of things will be topics while I will be interviewing, like very well known producers and singers about and that content will also be on the website. And we’re going to we’re getting into showcases doing showcases of female artists and also producing workshops and retreats that will be coming up to support obviously in my town because I’m in Toronto to support female artists who are struggling with confidence and just need to learn about publishing and different and social media and I will be providing workshops to support those artists. So basically, the brand is a supportive resource for up and coming artists and eventually we’re going to create a record label. That is the ultimate goal.

I was just about to say that I can see And your future sparkle label. But I, it occurred to me that you know, you’re working with independent so I wasn’t sure if that would be against the

will everyone be signed and everyone needs distribution deals where they can get their music out to more than just their friends. So yeah, definitely Oh for sure labels in my future I’m not you know, I’m not interested in getting as big as like say Sony, or universal but Sony universal or kind of same thing. I definitely want to have an independent label and work with artists in that way from that perspective. And so that’s something that needs to be built. You know, there’s lots of grants I want to apply for. So it’s definitely a lot of work in process, and I’m trying to build my team to accomplish more. I need a producer for a new segment that I’m creating from sparkle, but it’s going to be aired on another radio network. And it will be sparkle content, but it will be aired on another Canadian radio network. And so just to keep up with all the work involved in that, I need a producer and an editor. And so yes, I’m looking to build my team as I grow and trying to like do it at a pace that I can handle.

I’m going on.

listeners, some of you may remember that my husband is an independent video game developer. So we’re familiar with the independent realm just not music, being in the in the video game industry, but there’s actually if you’re looking for something to watch on Netflix, there’s a documentary called indie games. I think it’s called listeners. I will put that in the show notes which by the way, you can find out KIM SUTTON calm forward slash p p. 144. But indie games follows the light have three or four different independent video game developers for a little period of time, and it’s just really fascinating seeing what they go through behind the scenes, especially when they’re not on, you know, they’re not developing for a brand like Blizzard or EA or any of those big brands. But it’s very fascinating. And it was, it’s always a little bit stressful for my husband to watch because he knows that very shortly, like, within the next year, he’s going to be seeing his games go out to the big platforms under his own label, but yeah, there’s a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of different things that you have to think about, for gamers and for artists. Yeah, just things that you don’t really think about until you really have to. So I think it’s wonderful that you are helping people put together their lists and get all their pieces together. Now.

Yeah, yeah. It’s it’s really fun. It’s exciting. It’s just it’s a combination of all the things Things that I love and who I am. I love music and, and I’m always I love helping people. So it kind of is just perfect fit for me and, and there’s people that could use my support and the information that I have to offer. So I’m excited that I will be able to do that. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Oh, I just remembered why, actually, that documentary came to my head, besides the fact that it’s about independent artists. One of the developers is from Canada and had received a grant from the government to build this business.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, God bless my country. Like, we it’s so amazing. Like, there’s just so much supports here. But yeah, then you have to find a grant writer or do it yourself. And so it’s a process because you have to, you know, do a lot of writing, but there is so much grant support in this country that I feel very blessed. So it’s just a matter of getting organized around the applications and providing what the criteria meeting the criteria and stuff like that.

Mykella, where can listeners find the sparkle podcast? And where will they be able to find your website when it is up?

Mykella Van Cooten: Oh, for sure. So, currently, the host website for sparkle is FMG Radio. So FMGradio.com/show/sparkle. And that’s your… that’s our sparkle podcast page within the FMG radio network.

Mykella Van Cooten: And we have kind of like a dummy site right up up right now that you can see at sparklepodcast.com and the fancy schmancy one will be up in May. And it’ll be it’s quite beautiful. We’ve already kind of connected with the designer and we’ve created a design it’s quite amazing. So yeah, we’ll go for it. So it’ll be sparklepodcast.com

Kim Sutton: Is there anywhere else hat listeners can connect with you online.

Mykella Van Cooten: Uh, yeah, there’s Facebook at sparkle podcast, Twitter, same things sparkle podcast. I think Twitter is sparkle_podcast, and Instagram, same things sparkle podcast @sparkleppdcast.

Kim Sutton: Fabulous. And again, listeners, all the links will be in the show notes. Because I want to thank you so much for being here today. Do you have a closing piece of advice or word of wisdom that you would love to share with listeners?

Mykella Van Cooten: Mmm hmm. I would just say keep at it.

I think that I wanted to be an entrepreneur for a long time. My father’s an entrepreneur, but it always freaked me out because of the lack of stability or my fear of the lack of stability. So I would say just keep believing yourself.

Mykella Van Cooten: When you get no’s just keep trying. Just don’t give up because this is the first time kind of like really follow through. And it’s amazing. I’m doing amazing things and love everything that I’m doing and get support.

Mykella Van Cooten: I mean, for me that started with getting a coach and then building a team, because I don’t think we should ever do anything as of any importance alone. Because then you feel isolated and you feel like, you know, one bad day feels like can turn into a bad week and a bad year because you’re by yourself and you think that’s all that is possible. So yeah, get support, keep going.