My name is Joseph Liu, and I’m a professional speaker, podcast host, and career change consultant. After spending 10 years working in brand management, I now take the principles of relaunching product brands to help people relaunch their personal brands and pursue more meaningful work.
My podcast is called Career Relaunch. The show features inspiring stories of career change, featuring professionals who have bravely reinvented themselves. My listeners tend to be seasoned professionals in a wide range of industries, but they share a common aspiration to pursue work they find more meaningful. The majority of listeners are in the US, UK, Japan, Canada, and Australia, but the show now has listeners in over 100 countries.
I originally started this podcast as a resource for my clients who told me they gained a lot of clarity, confidence, and courage by hearing stories from other people who have successfully navigated career changes. I've been listening to podcasts since 2004, and I've found them to be both educational and at times transformational throughout my own career journey.
My initial goal in creating Career Relaunch was to broaden my reach and help even more people around the world pursue work they find truly meaningful, something I've done my best to do in my own life, with my clients, and with my audiences. I find this work incredibly rewarding, especially when I hear from listeners who tell me they were inspired to make their change after hearing the podcast. I've always had a passion for radio and broadcast journalism, having dabbled in it myself many years ago when I worked at the National Public Radio affiliate in Honolulu as a news anchor there. Therefore, creating this podcast seemed to be the perfect way to combine my mission and passion.
My podcast launched Sept 2016. I invested a solid 18 months from the moment I conceived of the idea for Career Relaunch to releasing my first episode. I spent that time interviewing guests, figuring out the technology, building my support team, and creating the Career Relaunch brand with that team. As a former brand marketer, I'm a big believer in the power of branding, so I invested a lot of time refining the brand until I felt it precisely embodied the mission I was trying to achieve.
I typically release an episode every 2-3 weeks. I probably invest 10+ hours into each episode, which includes finding and getting to know guests, recording, production, multiple editing rounds, episode artwork creation, post writing, meta tagging, and show notes.
My business income comes from paid speaking engagements, workshops, online courses, and client coaching. I try to squeeze the podcast work in whenever I have a free moment because I really love it!
Each episode probably costs me upwards of $150 to produce between media hosting, paying the freelancers I work with including a designer in Tokyo, producer & editor in London, and content assistant in Montreal. Currently, I self-fund the podcast, but I do earn a bit from listener donations and affiliate sponsors.
I currently have a very carefully selected group of sponsors. I took it upon myself to proactively reach out to each of these sponsors one by one. Some have panned out while others have not. I don't aggressively seek out sponsors for my show, as I want to ensure I only feature those directly relevant to my listeners. I get quite annoyed myself when I listen to shows that eventually get littered with irrelevant sponsors, so I try my best to avoid doing this. I got my first sponsor after putting out about 15 episodes and reaching about 500 downloads per episode per month.
The benefits of my podcast have been far-reaching and primarily non-financial. First and foremost, I've had the opportunity to go deep into the emotional roller coaster of career change, hearing firsthand how people have successfully navigated the process of reinvention, which allows me to then share these valuable success patterns with my clients and audiences. Second, I've had the unique opportunity to develop relationships with guests all over the world in places, industries, and roles that would likely have never come my way had it not been for my show. My guests have ranged from someone who was homeless for three years to the CEO of a global, blue-chip company. Finally, the podcast also provides me with another way of getting my own voice out to a receptive audience of listeners, which is such a privilege.
I have a fairly basic hardware setup to record Career Relaunch. The first and only microphone I've used for the show is a Samson Q2U USB stick microphone, which seems to do the job just fine for me. I use Adobe Audition with my producer to edit, review, and mix each episode. Although I've done in-person interviews, I most often record using Skype because I try to feature guests from all walks of life around the world. I record into 2 channels, one for the guest and one for me. Skype-to-Skype definitely produces better audio than a phone line, so I try to insist all my guests use Skype, although I wish there was a clean way to record into 2 channels & Audition with FaceTime which tends to have even more stable audio (if anyone out there knows how to do this, I'm all ears!). I don't use a mixer, but rather, control the audio channels & levels through software on my MacBook using Soundflower and LineIn. Listeners might be a bit surprised at my make-shift recording "studio," which is basically a corner of a bedroom with a few pillows stacked against the wall 😂. Hey, it does the job! At least for now.
I find my guests rather organically. Sometimes, I reach out to them. These could be professionals in my network or simply people across whom I've stumbled online or at an event who have an interesting career change story to share. When I meet people for the first time, I try to make a point to avoid just asking "So what do YOU do?" When you dig a little deeper, you would be surprised how many people are actually going through some sort of a confusing career transition.
Increasingly though, these days, I receive quite a few applications via my website from people who want to be on the show. Unfortunately, I tend to reject the vast majority of applications, as quite a few people seem to be in it to self-promote, which doesn't land well with listeners. However, if someone has a genuine interest in sharing the lessons they've learned as a way of helping others, I bring them onto the show.
I invest quite a bit of time preparing for each interview--at least a solid couple hours familiarising myself with each guest's career history and preparing relevant questions.
Neither Apple Podcasts nor iTunes gives comprehensive stats, so I get most of my statistics from my media host of choice, Blubrry. Roughly half of my listeners listen to my show via the iOS Apple Podcasts app. Anecdotally, listeners tend to discover my show after watching my TEDx Talk, stumbling upon one of my online articles, or attending one of my in-person workshops or talks. I don't have complete clarity on the effectiveness of social media on expanding the reach of my show, but I do hear from many listeners via LinkedIn, where I tend to have my most engaged following personally.
I'd recommend investing the time necessary to get your audio to an acceptable level of quality. That doesn't mean you have to spend a ton of money on expensive equipment, but you need to pay attention to it. Some people say 'don't get too caught up with audio quality and instead focus on the content'. I disagree. As a former radio news anchor myself, I get distracted from a podcast's content if the audio quality isn't great. The counterpoint to that would be, if you're interested in podcasting, at some point you just have to dive in and hit record, knowing that your first episode may not be your best one, but will at least get you started on this exciting journey. Not every episode is going to be phenomenal, and this is something I've had to come to terms with myself, as my desire for perfection can often get in the way of me actually getting an episode out the door.
If you want to learn more about the tools I use, feel free to check out my resources page, where I list out all the helpful apps and tools I use to keep things running efficiently.
If you're interested in hearing stories of career reinvention, you can check out watch the Career Relaunch trailer and listen to the latest episodes at CareerRelaunch.net. You can also follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and support the show if you enjoy it.