The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now. The same is with going to the gym, writing a blog, or hosting a podcast.
You might say that the comparison is not valid, but I assure you it is. In all of the cases it is hard to get yourself to start, and it is even harder to continue, but if you do it gets better over time. And it doesn't really get any easier, but you do get better and more comfortable in the new role.
And the trick is, you can't really skip the tricky period. Your muscles are going to hurt for a few weeks, as well as it will cause pain to write a good post or make a good podcast episode. But once you push through the pain, you will start feeling the benefits. And it takes far less than with the tree.
Why do it? Because it is worth it. It will push you to be better, it will help you learn new skills, and it will help you become more visible professionally. And it is fun, once you become good at it!
Struggle with how? No worries, just read below.
But it is such an expensive sport, right?
Well, it can be, but it doesn't really have to be.
How can you soundproof a regular room? Just make sure that you cover hard and flat surfaces as much as possible. Put a blanket over the closet doors, curtain over the windows, put some tablecloth over the table or a desk, and use some cloth for the walls. Even a few t-shirts on hangers would do the job.
And you do not have to do all these things, especially if you do not pick a room with glass walls, or similar features. If it is cozy, it will sound just great.
If you consider having a guest, then get a double lavalier. The price is about the same.
This will get you in the top 20% by sound quality, and it is excellent for a start. If it turns out you really enjoy this, and want to be even better, and have really professional quality, it will set you back from $400 to $1500 USD, but don't invest that much until you are sure you are pursuing this.
How about video?
If you want a wider audience, it does make sense to have video as well. For specialized podcasts, audio is crucial, since your audience will probably dominantly listen to you.
Sound is still very important, and for video quality, you have two very good, yet very cheap options. First, you can use your phone if it is not older than a year or two. You can even record 4K video, and then crop full HD to add the dynamics to the conversation. You can also use an action camera - GoPro or some of the cheaper alternatives, it will be perfectly fine. Just put it on a decent tripod (costs about 50-70 USD), and you are good to go.
Is the image quality good enough? If what you are trying to present is of very high aesthetical value or requires really high production standards to be represented properly, then the quality of the recording will be essential. But that is very rarely the case, so do not worry about that. It is just there to illustrate your story, and the story itself is the reason people are listening. Just Google what kind of movies people recorded on their iPhone’s, or Samsung’s in the past couple of years, and you will be amazed.
If you want to get the most of any camera, put enough light on the subjects talking, and you will be fine. And it doesn't have to be any kind of special lighting, a floor or a desk lamp from Ikea would be just fine.
So, now you think you are ready? Not quite yet.
Well, I mentioned the story. That is the only tricky part left, but that is also something you can train yourself for. Depending on the format you would like to record how you should approach this, but usually, a good preparation and getting to know your guests (if you plan on having them) and preparing them for what you are about to ask is the way to go.
At first, write everything down beforehand, and maybe it will be a bit stiff, but you will get the job done. As time passes, you will write down less and less, and keep only crucial things somewhere in sight, just so you do not forget to ask or mention them.
Who is your desired audience? What would they want to know about you (and your guests)? That is a beginning.
If you do not feel comfortable with asking people questions, do not worry, it will get better over time. Same as with the gym, it might be unpleasant in the beginning, but as soon as you see and feel the results, you will feel much better, and it will keep the motivation up.
Make sure you ask your audience for feedback, and focus on the positives. Keep the negatives in the picture, and try working your way into getting better, but do understand that no one was amazing the first time. Or the second one. We just don't know about their failures; we have just been following them since they made it.
“Every artist was first an amateur,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson almost two centuries ago. Now go and make a first step towards being even more amazing!