I almost didn’t attend the Spark Christian Podcast Conference. I’m leaving for the Women’s Business Lakeside Conference in less than 2 weeks, so the timing of this trip wasn’t convenient. And I typically don’t like to leave my family back to back like this.
But after talking with Misty Phillip, the conference founder and host of By His Grace Podcast, I knew that I had the opportunity to be a part of the marketing panel at the event. I also knew that there were going to be over 100 other Christian podcasters, and those are my people!
So I talked with my husband and told him the situation, and he said, “you have to go.” So I did. And I am so grateful.
If you’ve ever been to an event or gone on a trip, you know that it’s hard to put into words what you experience in such a short period of time. But I want to share a few of my lessons that I learned on this particular trip.
5 Lessons from the Spark Christian Podcast Conference
1. When God tells you to do something, say “yes.” He will supply the rest.
When Misty called me about 4 months ago to discuss the idea of this conference, I thought it was an amazing concept. But I had no idea it would come together so quickly. Misty sensed God putting it on her heart to do this event, and she went to work.
But as she shared at the conference, it was God who supplied what she needed each step of the way. He brought together the speakers, the sponsors, the space, the attendees—all of it.
Similarly, when I sensed God calling me to start my podcast, I was excited and scared at the same time. And honestly, it was not the best time for me to start a podcast. I was deep in the throes of client work and trying to make sure I stayed available for my family as well. But it seemed like God was saying ’now’, and I jumped in. I’m not sure what would have happened if I waited, but I know that God has rewarded that step of obedience all along the way.
If God is asking you to step out and do something, say “yes” and trust Him for the strength you’ll need to do it, and for the results that will come.
2. If you have a chance to attend a live event, do it.
As much as the online connections can be very real and very valuable, there’s nothing like being face-to-face with others. At the event, I was able to meet a few women from my Facebook group in real life and connect with them in meaningful ways.
And I was able to meet several online biz friends for the first time. I had meals with them and dug in a little deeper into what God is doing in their lives and businesses.
Then I connected with brand new people and had great conversations with them about their podcasts, businesses, and what they are doing.
Consider how you can connect with others in your industry this year. It might be attending a local networking meeting; it could be hosting a small event in your town; or it might be attending a larger event. But start looking for how you might be able to connect face-to-face rather than just online.
If you are a woman in business, there’s still time to join me at the Women’s Business Lakeside Conference in Lake Geneva, WI – March 9-10, 2020. Get all the details here and use code “Esther100” to get $100 off your ticket! I will be speaking on “Grow with Podcasting: Strategy, Systems, and SEO” and I would love to see you there.
3. Focus on creating a quality product or service and serving your audience well.
When I started the Christian Woman Leadership Podcast, I knew I wanted it to be good. I didn’t want to just throw something up and hope people liked it. I had a strategy and a plan, based on the research I had done and the conversations and feedback from those in my target audience.
And along the way, I’ve tried to stay in touch and continually make things better.At the conference, I heard a few talks that helped me to see some specific areas where I can improve, and I am looking forward to putting those into action. There are a few obvious areas where I believe the podcast can be better and that will serve our listeners more effectively.
Even though I work with podcasters and have learned a lot over the past few years, I never want to be in place where I think I’ve got this podcasting or business thing all figured out—I know there is always room to change, grow, and improve.
So in your own work, don’t be content with mediocre. Do everything as unto the Lord, and honor him with your work. And focus on how you can improve the experience for your clients, students, or audience.
4. Sometimes, you get rewarded for hard work, and it’s pretty fun when that happens.
Before the Spark Conference, Misty announced that there would be Christian Podcast Awards. I immediately submitted my show for nomination, although I didn’t really know what they were looking for or what the categories would be when I submitted.
So it was really fun when, at the end of the conference, our show was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Interview Podcast. I was honored because I honestly work hard at the interviews and trying to make them as meaningful and purposeful as possible. I very much dislike hearing the the same answers from people over and over, so I try to make sure that our interviews are different and pull out different pieces of someone’s story.
And then, if that wasn’t enough, a few minutes later they announced the Outstanding Podcast Host, Co-Hosted, and we won that award too!
We don’t do our podcast for any awards or recognition—we do it so that we can encourage women to embrace their God-given gifts, skills and passions and lead with confidence.
But when we hear that the episodes are resonating with our listeners… when we hear that God is using the podcast to impact someone’s life… when we win an award… it’s like icing on the cake. Even though I know this is ultimately about doing what God called me to do, it’s really fun when other people appreciate it too.
Here’s what I want you to remember: don’t work for the awards or recognition, but don’t be afraid to celebrate them when they come.
5. In everything you do, make it your goal to shine the light on Jesus, not yourself.
In this online world, it can be easy to get sucked into the trap of believing that it’s all about what you do, what you accomplish, how much you earn, and how many followers you have. On Saturday morning, we heard from blogger Kristen Welch of “We Are THAT Family.”
She shared that for many years, her goal was to become known. And in a lot of ways, she was succeeding. She was getting the page views. She was getting the recognition.
But then God revealed to her that she was chasing the wrong goal. For those of us who claim to be Christ followers, our goal should be to shine the spotlight on Jesus, not ourselves.
Does that mean it’s wrong to pursue big things or have big goals? No. But in everything we do, we should be seeking to point people to God and not ourselves.
And your business doesn’t have to be explicitly Christian to do this. You can do this in the way you serve your clients, the way you create excellent products or programs that serve your students or customers. You can shine the light of Jesus in everything you do.
My takeaway from this lesson is to pray for God to keep me humble and to always keep me focused on what’s most important. And I’d recommend that you do the same.
Those were just a few of the lessons I learned at the Spark Christian Podcast Conference 2020, and I’m definitely looking forward to next year.
Here’s a few more of my highlights from the trip:
- When one of my podcast listeners and FB group members approached me and asked, “Are you Esther Littlefield?” What followed was a wonderful conversation about how she found the podcast and how it’s impacting her. I also got to hear about her story and she gave me a copy of her book to read! Check out her website here.
- Sitting next to and chatting with one of my favorite podcasting mentors, Dave Jackson. His podcast, School of Podcasting, helped me when I was getting started, and I still listen to every episode. His presentation at the conference was engaging, funny, and packed full of value.
- Speaking on the marketing panel and sharing some of the insights I’ve learned over the past few years of working with podcasters and marketing my own business and podcast. Along with me on the panel were Darren Shearer, Blythe Daniel, and Thomas Umstattd.
- Meeting up with several of my online friends, some of whom have been guests on my podcast! Shout out to my friends Christa Hutchins of Do a New Thing (hear her on episode 41); Julie Holmquist of the Kairos Moments Podcast; Heather Sudbrock of The Girl Lab, and Rachael Gilbert of Real Talk with Rachael (hear her on episode 14).
- Connecting with many NEW friends, such as my roommate Connie Albers, and many others who I’m excited to get to know better in the coming weeks and months. Check out Connie’s new podcast Equipped to Be here. Also check out Jennifer’s Accidental Hope Podcast and Debbi’s From Willingness to Wellness podcast.
Of course, the conference was chock full of practical and strategic advice for podcasters, and I am looking forward to implementing some specific strategies. You can grab the event recordings so that you can get access to all the goods here!
Have you attended a live event recently, or are you planning to go in the coming months? Comment below and let me know about it!