Necessity is the mother of invention (and job changes).
Phil Collins was only a drummer until the singer in his band Genesis, Peter Gabriel, quit and a replacement couldn’t be found. That’s when he stepped in as lead vocalist of the group, which went on to sell over 130,000,000 albums.
As a solo artist, Phil Collins has sold 150,000,000 albums.
Adult film actress Andrea Truden was hired by a Jamaican real estate company to appear in its television commercials. While filming in Jamaica, an attempted coup prevented her from leaving the country with the money she had earned.
Not wanting to go home without payment, Truden stayed on the island and financed a music recording. When it was completed, she returned to the United States with a reel of tape, not money.
Andrea Truden, under the name Andrea True, released the song, "More, More, More” which ultimately reached No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Other hits followed including "N.Y., You Got Me Dancing” and "What's Your Name, What's Your Number.”
Mike Smith was working as a sound mixer on film and TV projects. He was hired for a movie project with director Mike Clattenburg, who noticed him on set, doing a funny character to entertain the rest of the crew.
The movie Smith was working on, Trailer Park Boys, became a television series. When this happened, Smith’s character, (known as “Bubbles”) was written into the scripts and became one of the three main protagonists.
Similar situations happen in podcasting all the time. And they either push podcasters forward or make them fade away.
It’s not uncommon for podcasts to die (or miss episodes) because the host couldn’t find anybody to interview or the co-host had a scheduling conflict that made him unable to record. You can avoid both these situations by developing the skills needed to host your podcast by yourself.
Is it scary? Yes — for a while. But it gets easier (and you get better) the more you do it.
As podcasts are almost never live, what’s the worst that can happen if you go solo? You record something, it’s not very good, and you never release it. Nobody has to know.
But what if it works? What if you stick with it and get better as a solo host? Then you’ll have full control over content, recording, when you release new episodes, promotion, and overall direction of your podcast.
It’s worth it.
When RED Podcast went from a co-hosted show to just me as host, I was terrified. The first solo episodes I did were scripted, with me reading every word.
I thought it sounded ok. I’d voiced a couple of audio books. I’d read commercials. I wasn’t completely new to recording myself reading.
Then I got an email from a listener. “It sounds like you’re reading,” he said. “I like when you just talk.”
From that point, when recording solo episodes, I work from an outline of bulletpoints, not a word-for-word script. Also scary, but also something I can erase and start over if needed. And not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
I'm married to my (former) RED Podcast co-host. We live together. When you have this kind of relationship and living situation, it’s pretty easy to get in the same room and record. But even this kind of ease can’t touch the freedom and flexibility I have now that RED Podcast is just me.
Co-hosted podcasts are fine. Interview format podcasts are fine. But if you’re not 100% happy with where things are going using either of those formats, doing a few solo episodes, even if you never release any of them, may be exactly what your podcast needs to stand out, get more listeners, and make more impact.
Want to get good a solo podcasting quickly? Try a 30-in-30 podcast challenge.