One of the first ways I made money with my podcast is when a member of the School of Podcasting asked if I knew an editor. Who did I recommend? Me. They just wanted to talk into the microphone and hand it off to someone. That was back in 2005, and things haven't changed. Some people love editing, and other people "just want to talk into the microphone."
Back on episode 752 I interview Mark Deal and Steve Stewart from the Podcast Editor Academy which is an amazing resource with tutorials on software (Hindenburg, Reaper, etc) but it also talks about the business of being a podcaster editor.
The importance of having a niche.
How Steve started out as a podcast editor without a website.
Mark talks about setting expectations by having a contract with your customer.
The difference between an editor, an engineer, a manager, and a story shaper.
Common mistakes new podcast editors make.
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[00:00:00] Dave Jackson: , joining me via squadcast, I had a couple people ask me about getting into editing and it dawned on me. It's been almost two years since I've had mark and Steve from the podcast editor academy on.
And I was like, Hey boys, let's skip back together and talk some editing. So mark and Steve, thanks for coming on.
[00:00:17] Steve Stewart: Thanks Dave.
[00:00:18] Mark Deal: Yeah. Dave.
[00:00:20] Dave Jackson: so one of the things I wanted to look into is what do you think are some of the biggest, holy cow, those things that like, I'm gonna be an editor cuz dog gone and I know audacity and you jump into it and you throw up a shingle maybe somewhere that says I'm a podcast editor. What's one of the biggest things that people go, Ooh, I didn't oh, Hmm. Kind of. thing
[00:00:41] Steve Stewart: Well, the first thing is obviously getting that first client, or if you have somebody that you're editing for, you gotta get that second client and it doesn't become a full time thing until you have a, a full book of business, because you've got to make a steady income. The good thing about podcast editing is it should become a steady income.
Most podcasters release an episode on average, everybody doesn't, uh, one a week, they could be different, but that becomes a recurring income. Then it becomes are you charging enough? That it makes it worth your time and spending enough time. I shouldn't say enough time. I should say less time doing the work so that you actually earn a better wage per hour than you would have at your old day job.
Cuz there's, there's things about taxes that come into play for somebody who's working for themselves than there is when you're working for a company. So those are the biggest things. I think when you're first thinking about getting into it, it's you gotta get the clients first before you can jump out of a job.
Getting Your First Client
[00:01:30] Dave Jackson: So, how do you get that first client?
[00:01:32] Steve Stewart: P mark. You wanna take this one?
[00:01:35] Mark Deal: You know, honestly, I think we covered it pretty good. In your last episode, we were on couple years ago, episode, 7 5 2, because it's a question that comes up pretty often is like, how do I, uh, get my first client? And there's, multiple strategies going to events in person, whether they're podcasting events or podcasting, adjacent events.
one of the things I teach editors when they're talking with prospective clients, people that want to make a living, not so much from podcasting, but through podcast. And people don't keep this in mind, at least in our industry, cuz we're always listening to podcast is podcasting is the only medium in which you can market to people when they are away from their screens.
So that's one of the things that we teach editors to say to prospective clients. So they're like, oh yeah, podcasting is something I need to really get into and double down into how do I get started? Well, that's what the editor podcast manager, producer, whoever is gonna help you out.
[00:02:27] Dave Jackson: And I know a lot of people forget, like, they'll say, okay, I'm gonna work 52 weeks a year. I need to make X amount of money. If I do this, then my rate would be blank. And that it goes back to your initial point, like, okay, well, a, you might wanna take a vacation.
B, , you have to factor an uncle Sam, . What's what's some of the mistakes people are making with, I guess, rates.
[00:02:52] Steve Stewart: Well, I wanna go back to that per hour that you work income and you may not be basing your income or what your rate on. Which you're actually charging for an hour of work. You might be doing it on a project base. That's what I do. I say, you send me the files. If it's this length of audio, here's the rate boom done.
That's what you're gonna get charged. They know what they're gonna be charged before they even upload the file to me. but am I gonna be able to spend two hours on the project or 20 hours on the project? That's where the per hour comes into play. There actually is a, a course inside of our podcast editor academy, where you can plug in numbers on what you're making and how long you spend, per, per client.
Per episode, and it'll kick out a number that then tells you what you're earning per hour for that type of work. And then you can also use that same spreadsheets. It's just a simple spreadsheet to figure out, okay, what do I need to be making per hour? I wanna make a hundred thousand dollars per year.
I've got a pay uncle Sam there's processing fees involved with, you know, taking, taking payments through QuickBooks or FreshBooks or PayPal or whatever. What do I gotta bring in? And that all comes together to say, okay, you need to be making, we'll say 30 bucks an hour, but you're charging 20. And you know, there's a deficit there.
Now mark can talk about what podcasters are actually charging on average per episode, mark, you wanna jump into that?
[00:04:06] Mark Deal: Yeah, sure. So we've been doing this for about four years now. I believe Steve, we do this industry survey where we survey professional podcast editors, and we ask them, how long would it take you to edit a 60 minute episode? And how much would you charge? And then from there, we kind of figure out how long it takes them and what their effective hourly rate is.
But then we ask a whole bunch of other questions too, to find out what are some of the leading indicators and the factors that influence rates cuz we want, uh, For our editors to, to make more per their hour of effort. And, uh, I think, and I'm going off memory here, Dave certainly will provide you and your audience with a link to where they can watch that whole survey and results for free
But I think it was about $43 per hour. So if it took you six hours, uh, to do, oh, okay. I'll use 10 round numbers. If it took you 10 hours to do a 60 minute show, that'd be $430. one of the things that we've noticed is. Editors are getting more efficient as the years go on. Whether it's because of things like our academy or all those other tools out there.
So they're charging more and more cuz they realize that people are paying for the problems they're solving and the value they're delivering. Not so much the editing work that they're doing, but they're also getting faster than that work. So they're effective. Uh, hourly rate is going up.
[00:05:25] Dave Jackson: Yeah. If you can do the same job in a shorter amount of time, you just gave yourself a raise, which is a bonus.
[00:05:32] Mark Deal: Right.
[00:05:33] Dave Jackson: Yeah, I know a lot of people, , we all wanna do things on the cheap. We don't like to spend money. I wanna be an editor. I wanna throw my shingle out there, but do I really need a website?
[00:05:44] Steve Stewart: The answer to that is no, you don't have to have a website, especially to get started. You don't have to have a website. Now I will say that there's, there's some credibility that you build when you have a website, especially if it's a good looking website. and I think it's a little more important if you're gonna be a podcast manager.
Versus a podcast editor. Now you could get a gig from, uh, let's just give my example. When I started editing for people, I did not have a website for editing podcasts, cuz I wasn't planning on doing this. It became a part-time job for somebody in a community that I belonged to not related to podcasting specifically, it was about content and they were asking me cuz they knew me.
So if you know a group or a niche and. Doesn't have to be surrounded by the podcasting industry. It could be something that you're involved in, something you're interested in, in a community that you're in. that's where you're gonna find probably people who are like you, and that might want to hire you to take the pain of podcasting away.
So I didn't have a website about podcast editing. It had nothing to do with it. So when I started no website, got clients turned into a full time business, still no website that said I did podcast editing it wasn't until maybe a year after where I designed the site that said anything about I do podcast editing and that's cuz I finally got down to it and said, okay, I'm no longer a personal finance coach blogger podcaster.
I'm now a podcast editor. So you don't need a. But if you're gonna grow past that 1, 2, 3 clients. Now we're talking, you need to have an online presence. You gotta have a website for that. You really do. Plus a way people can read about you contact you. You may or may not want to put your rates on the page on, on one of the pages.
That's a debate that, um, it's a personal decision that people need to make on that. but definitely a contact page about you page and maybe a little bit about your service.
[00:07:27] Dave Jackson: What about sites? Like I know there's a Fiverr. I forget the other one that used to be these different places where you, uh, Upwork, I think was the other one that, you can go there and look for jobs. Are, are those who are spending the time on?
[00:07:42] Steve Stewart: I'm gonna say no, but I'm not gonna say you shouldn't because if you have no community that you're involved in with, and I'm not talking about the podcasting community, I'm talking about those niches outside of podcasting. If you don't have a way to get involved with some other type of community, and I'm not talking about just Facebook group then yeah.
Maybe up. Maybe, Fiverr, . Those might be a good place to start, but you've got to have an exit plan. You've got to be able to, to get your way outta there because, that is a race to the bottom. I think Dave is the one who says that all the time.
It's a race to the bottom. when you're talking about your rates, because people are going on there looking for somebody, they don't really care too much. I don't. They don't care too much, but they don't, they're not looking into, they're not spending an hour investigating the person they're gonna hire.
They're looking at your appearance on Fiverr, your ratings on Fiverr. You gotta, I guess, spend a lot of time to build those ratings on Fiverr or Upwork. And then you're gonna be able to start demanding a little bit more money, but it's still not gonna be more than , the 20, 30 people below.
[00:08:42] Dave Jackson: and Steve, you had mentioned, you said, you know, whether you're an editor or a manager, What's the difference between the two
[00:08:49] Steve Stewart: Oh, my gosh. What's the difference? It's huge. it's funny. Cuz a podcast editor. If you, think about the term, it's a little generic, but it is specific. Meaning you're editing the content you're you're taking the recorded audio and you're cutting out the crap. And that's an acronym. Crap is, is not a bad word.
It's an acronym. Crap stands for crutches accidents. Sorry, start, let me start again.
[00:09:14] Dave Jackson: forgot the.
[00:09:14] Steve Stewart: Crap. Crap stands for crutches repeats accidents. Pregnant pauses. If you're taking all that stuff where it doesn't belong, you're making the audio sound better, but we haven't talked about audio engineering yet and there's podcast engineers out there.
So we're talking about Chris Curran. We're talking about Tom Kelly. And, , those guys have engineering backgrounds and they're talking about EQ compression, normalization Exciters things like that. A podcast editor doesn't have to be an expert in engineering.
They should know something about it, cuz they're gonna do some of it anyway. But then when we go to a podcast manager we're talking about, okay, now we're talking about more than just managing a recorded piece of audio. Now we're talking about. Maybe scheduling guests, maybe facilitating the recordings on squad.
Maybe we're doing the show notes writing. Maybe we're managing the RSS feed. Maybe we are, doing the social media, stuff like that. So a manager can do so many more things than just a podcast editor.
[00:10:14] Mark Deal: . Yeah, you're right, Steve. And there's also a lot of great women on our community that are focusing on story design.
Now these are people that work with their clients and come up with an overview of what the narrative story, the narrative podcast is , and their. Cutting and splicing all the different elements of the story together to make a more serialized podcast, a more narrative show. And that's even beyond the realm of just the typical crap editing as Steve is calling, or even the engineering of cleaning up the audio and some do sound design with fully tracks and everything.
So there's all sorts of levels of service that, that people are doing that, honestly, every day, Steve and I will see a story of some of the excellent work people are doing, and we're just amazed every day..
[00:10:57] Dave Jackson: And the nice thing about those kind of shows is that I would assume they pay more because you do a whole lot more work to, uh, spit. One of those.
[00:11:05] Mark Deal: I, I would think so. I, got to watch the videos, right. of, of what they're doing, and it is a tremendous amount of work, but they're also very smart in the way they do it. they do it like a 10th of the time. It would take me to think through that process, but yeah, they, they get paid for that expertise.
[00:11:22] Dave Jackson: . So we talked about getting that first client. How do you, how do you find the right client? , is there a type that we should be looking.
[00:11:29] Steve Stewart: Well, I will always preach about being in a niche. A niche that you're interested in, cuz that's gonna keep you going. But also because you become known in that niche as , the go-to person. And when you do that, you can demand a higher rate. And that's gonna find also people who are ready to pay a higher rate, cuz they're like, oh, I heard about this guy or this girl, they say you're the person we should talk to.
They've already been sold on your services. All you gotta do now is provide excellent customer service and close the deal. So there's no key. I can hand somebody say here's the key to all your problems. This is how you find that right client. But it's gonna take some time.
Usually you don't find the client right away. , at least not the right client. You're gonna find some people that you work with are just not the they're not great to work with and you're gonna learn what you're good at. You're gonna learn what podcasters want from you. It's not exactly what you thought you were providing.
They want more from you. they're gonna demand it too, by the way, after a while, they're like, well, why can't you do that for. , well, it's not my job. You're not gonna say that. That's that never comes off. Right. So it's gonna take some time, but you've gotta get out there and, and try first of all.
And I hate that whole get out there and just do it type of, of thing. But in this scenario, you've gotta get out there. And once you get your clients and learn, or maybe make a journal and figure out what it is that you like doing, what is you don't like doing? How can you leverage the parts that you like and, and charge more for that type of thing, and maybe outsource or find ways to automate the stuff that you don't and that'll help you to, to make more money per hour.
[00:12:55] Dave Jackson: Well, you mentioned working with people sometimes that you don't like and some other things, what do you feel is the biggest cause of editor burnout?
[00:13:09] Steve Stewart: Here's what I've seen in the, history of the podcasters club, which is the Facebook group that I created back in 2017. Yeah. We got 8,000 members in now. It's amazing. 2017 started and now I've seen a bunch of people come in and they've left and there's two reasons. Most people leave. Well, three, one is they got tired of Facebook and I'm, I'm okay with that.
another is they become so successful and they've grown. Needing a community of podcast editors like them to talk to. But the third one is they wanted to come in. It's just like a podcast or think they're gonna come and make a lot of money with their podcast. They come in the podcast setting and think, oh, this is great.
people could make money editing and it's true. You can, but it's hard work just like anything else. So their expectations are too high. That's what it is. Their expectations are higher than what they can reasonably achieve. They're trying to do this in the margins of their life and they're finding.
Just like anywhere else, you got a full-time job and then a part-time job and the part-time job. If it's not, , producing the results you want in a short period of time, you're gonna quit and you're gonna give up.
[00:14:06] Dave Jackson: I could see that. Now, one of the things, I guess, that could help. People that you don't wanna work with or, or at least chasing people to get things that you need might be working with a contract. Uh, is that something that most podcast editors do? The pros and cons that whole nine yards let's talk contracts mark, do you have a, uh, do you have a contract with Steve?
I mean, you two are friends. Uh, but,
[00:14:31] Mark Deal: We are friends.
[00:14:33] Dave Jackson: you guys have.
[00:14:35] Mark Deal: Of course, of course, me working on legal shows and talking to attorneys every day, I have to have contracts in, in every aspect of, of my job, just to let people know, this is what I'm doing. This is what I'm not doing. This is what you're paying for. This is when to expect payment. And, and this is who owns the media at various particular stages.
In its existence before the world knows about it. Uh, do I have the, the rights to, to share it, as you were saying earlier, Dave, you need to have that permission in order to share snippets of before and after. And do I have those rights? Do I not? Yeah. I'm a big fan of contracts and they're not scary.
They're just basically, Hey, two friends agreeing on , the terms of, of that relationship and it's best to do it early while you're still friends, then try , to go back when. There's perhaps some type of fallout or misunderstanding, and then you're trying to lean on that friendship relationship that wasn't written down.
Where do you go from there? So, yes, I'm a big fan of contracts.
[00:15:31] Dave Jackson: Steve was talking about when people join, maybe their expectations are a little outta whack. A contract literally gets everybody on the same page. So you know what, uh, what to expect,
well in Dallas. We record this it's July here in 2022 and next month in Dallas, not only for editors, you guys have
[00:15:51] Mark Deal: The podcast services, mastermind workshop.
[00:15:55] Dave Jackson: So who is that for?
[00:15:57] Steve Stewart: The podcast services mastermind workshop is for anybody who provides services to podcasters. So we're talking more for the individual who wants to make money. Serving podcasters podcast, editors, podcast managers, podcast consultants. Show notes, writers, anybody like that. Obviously our community is podcast editor, but anybody who does, you know, serve podcasters, it's gonna be a really good fit for them because that's who we are.
That's who we are sitting at the tables with , is the same type of people. Now we will have some podcasters there. We've already talked to a few of 'em. We were, provided some scholarships by our sponsors of the event, which is fantastic. So we're gonna have some podcasters there as well, but they know they're coming to a mastermind workshop.
This is where we're gonna have tables of. four, And we'll rotate the tables every, uh, hour or so. So you get to sit with different people each time, but these will be intensive working through a business model, which mark can talk a little bit more about, but it's not a sessions. We're not, there's no slideshow, this isn't, you know, listening to somebody speak about how to do a thing.
This is working through how to design a business model..
[00:17:00] Mark Deal: Exactly a business model. We're gonna talk about the nine different elements of a business model. So when people walk away, not only will they have a book filled out with notes on various aspects of running a business, but they'll have a one page. Now, granted, it's a pretty big map, but you can fold it up. We promise a map that you will have written on and you can have your entire business model in one view , and know.
What you need to do in order to achieve the business results that you want, whether you wanna be a podcast editor, maybe you wanna be an interview booking agent, uh, as long as you are doing a service in the podcast industry, that is what the podcast services mastermind workshop was built for.
[00:17:42] Dave Jackson: Awesome. And this is just the day before Podcast Movement?.
[00:17:44] Steve Stewart: , it's actually August 23rd, which is the first day of podcast movement, but the other things are happening during that same time are some other. premium workshops like ours, there's the, uh, the newbie orientation. so a lot of people who are going to podcast movement are either like the people that would come to our thing or would be a newbie who would want to, you know, a podcaster wants to go to that thing.
But then the evening kickoff party is right after we're done for the day. So it doesn't really interfere with anything, but it's the same location, same time as podcast movements. So once we're done with the podcast services mastermind, We get to network and have fun with podcasters..
[00:18:21] Dave Jackson: you mentioned it was back on episode 7 52. You had launched the podcast editor academy. It's been, uh, two plus years. what can people expect, uh, going forward with it?
[00:18:32] Mark Deal: Steve's shutting it down. Aren't you? Steve?
[00:18:35] Steve Stewart: Yes, not really.
[00:18:38] Mark Deal: Yeah. So. Thank you, Dave, we've been doing this for over two years now. We have almost 300 lessons, modules, courses, scripts. Uh, we've got the job board. We've got the editor board, tons of stuff. And what we're doing for the first time and over two years is we're gonna close the door for about a month for new members, existing members can still get in and, and still consume everything.
but we are reorganizing a lot of stuff or putting roadmaps in place so people can, self-identify where they're at in their business journey. Or maybe they just wanna look. Modules on how to build partnerships or, or marketing, or how to, uh, hire show, note writers or, or get into, uh, episode design, that sort of thing.
So we're reorganizing a lot of stuff, , enhancing some of the other elements that people have been using more of. And. Asking of us in a two plus years. So about a, a week after podcast movement, we'll close the doors to new members. We're gonna do this big reorganization, basically clean up the garage so we can find the tools and other people can find the tools that they're looking for.
And then we'll reopen the doors about a month later.
[00:19:42] Steve Stewart: And current members will have access to the academy
[00:19:45] Mark Deal: Oh yeah.
[00:19:46] Steve Stewart: this thing. So they, they won't see an interruption in their memberships. , but when we come back, we will be raising the rates, the price on the academy. So anybody who's joined the academy has enjoyed the, the same price that they've had ever since.
And anybody who joins before we close the doors will be able to keep that same. Going forward even after we increased the rate..
[00:20:08] Mark Deal: . Yeah. We're not increasing the rate for existing members, but when we do, relaunch and re the doors with all the new enhancements and everything, that will come with our first, uh, price increase, really since we've, , launched podcast editor academy.
[00:20:23] Dave Jackson: Very cool. So gentlemen, thank you so much for answering some questions for those people that are thinking of dipping their toe into being an editor and a manager and all the above. I really appreciate your time.
[00:20:34] Mark Deal: Thank you, Dave.
[00:20:35] Steve Stewart: Thanks Dave.