Dumb mistakes I’ve made as a podcaster: polished is better than perfect

Done isn’t better than perfect. Done isn’t good enough.

Polished is better than perfect. Polished means you’re paying attention. Polished means you’re not rushing it. Polished means no multitasking* because if you do, you’ll let too many oversights through the gate of the publish button.

By all means, ship your work. Publish something. Start talking to us and show us what you know. But don’t keep us waiting while you wait for perfection to arrive from Amazon.

Here’s a few mistakes I’ve made as a podcaster. I’ve made these mistakes because I worked too fast on too many tasks at the same time.

  • I uploaded today’s episode of the podcast to YouTube with a clip of my screen recording a song I wanted to use for the intro.
  • A guest told me not to publish the video version of our conversation. A week later, I made a trailer for Twitter, Instagram, and my newsletter, using clips from the video version of our conversation. (So sorry, U.)
  • Episodes 19, 20, and 21 have/will have sloppy audio quality on my end. I’ve forgotten to run test recordings of me and my guest before starting the show. (Some have told me that audacity could help with this, but I’ve yet to look into it.)
  • I want to use this Blockhead beat as my podcast intro, but copyright exists. Thinking I could get away with it, I uploaded today’s episode with the song at the beginning. The episode isn’t on Apple yet, and I’m thinking it’s because I’ve used the beat without permission. I’m stubborn and I don’t like using stock music for anything I make, so I’ve sent Blockhead a cold email asking if I can use the track.
  • I’ve dwelt on mistakes longer than it took for me to see and fix the mistake. This is the worst mistake a creator can make. There’s few mishaps that take more than 5 minutes to fix. But you’re not careful, you could spend hours sulking over something you forgot to do. Don’t sulk. Fix it and move on.

Make stuff. Break stuff.

Fix the stuff you broke.

But don’t dwell on it. You wouldn’t cry over spilt milk, nor should you cry over a misplaced apostrophe, a broken hyperlink, or equipment left unplugged.

Because here you are, making stuff instead of not making stuff.

So please, go make stuff.


*I’m writing this while waiting for today’s episode to re-render. I don’t listen to my own advice that often.

On the bright side, I’ve yet to forget to press RECORD an hour into an episode. I shudder to imagine what I would do if that happened. I wouldn’t get out of bed for weeks if that happened. So, let’s make sure that never happens.

The Michelle Obama of Plumbing

The day that Michelle Obama became a podcaster was the day that a girl in Kansas became insecure. “I can’t do a podcast. I’m no Michelle Obama.”

There are more than 850,000 podcasts. Only a few household names have started podcasts. But apparently, unless we want nobody to listen to our podcast, then we need to become Michelle Obama. We don’t. If we do need to become Michelle Obama, then where are all the “Becoming Michelle Obama So That More People Will Listen To Your Podcast” Udemy courses?

In California, we have 47,600 plumbers. There must be a few household name plumbers who get the job done quicker and better than all the other plumbers.

Plumbers become plumbers because they like tinkering. They like fixing people’s problems. They get satisfaction out of doing the work that nobody else wants to do. (Do plumbers face the resistance? “I can’t be a plumber. There’s too many plumbers. And I have to compete with the Michelle Obama of plumbing? Mom and Dad were right. I should go back to art school.”)

Podcasters start podcasts because they get joy out of having conversations. Podcasters see the value in giving other people a space to share their messages. And by sharing the podcast, they change the culture. They might even change the course of someone’s life.

Being a professional doesn’t necessarily mean remodeling your identity. Being a professional means showing up despite all the Michelle Obamas of your craft.

Perhaps that girl in Kansas thought, “It’s always guys starting podcasts. But Michelle Obama started a podcast. So if she can do it…”