So you want to start a podcast. However, you are worried because you do not know where to begin and may be concerned that you are not “techy enough” to pull it off.  Isn’t podcasting super complicated? Let’s dive into how to start a podcast. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about starting a podcast is that you have to have an audio engineering degree. Or that you have to have the latest and greatest equipment, and know all the technical lingo.

I am not a super techy person and I work in the podcasting space full time. Hopefully that encourages you that if I can do it…you can too.

The number one thing that you “need” to start a podcast is the resolve to start one. Everything is “figureoutable” including gear, tech, and RSS feeds. I promise.

I hope through this post, to demystify some of the technical blocks that keep people from hitting “publish” on their show. It will hopefully encourage you that if hosting a podcast is of interest to you, you should give it a shot. 

You never know, you might love it, and it might just change your life.

Forming your show’s concept

Looking back, one of the things that I wish I would have spent more time on was forming my show’s concept. I knew that I wanted to talk about leadership but how was I REALLY different from all the other shows on leadership?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to start a marketing podcast. How will your show stand out from the rest? Can you explain in a few seconds the core philosophy of your show and what listeners will gain by listening to YOU?

When someone sees YOUR marketing podcast will they know immediately if it’s for them or not? Is it for women and men? Is it for beginner marketers or advanced? How is what you teach different from other marketing shows right next to it in iTunes?

Now when you start to dig in and research what is already being done do NOT become discouraged. The fact that there are other shows like the one you want to start is a great thing, it means that there is a market for it. Don’t allow fear to set in and think,  “There is nothing special about my podcast. My industry is oversaturated. I do not need to start a show.

This honestly is just a bad mindset. There are leaders who I ADORE (and follow all of their work) and I have friends who have NEVER heard of them. If leaders with HUGE audiences still have yet to reach everyone, there is surely plenty of listeners to go around.

If you struggle with separating yourself from other shows ask yourself, “What do I wish existed a few years ago that I did not have access to?” or “How can I add more of my story or personality into this show?”. We are all unique so do not be afraid to add more of YOU in your show to separate you from the crowd.

 

The break down when thinking about how to start a podcast

To simplify podcasting for you here are the most basic of steps. Of course, you can dig and learn/implement many more details to this process, but technically this is all you need to get started.

First, you need your audio, then you need to submit that audio to your “feed”, then that feed updates all the directories (iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc). That’s really it. Not as bad as you thought, huh!? 

Audio

Seriously, you honestly do not need to spend tons of money on audio equipment. There are actually many people who record a podcast simply from their phones. 

You technically only need a .mp3 recording of your voice (and that of your guest, if applicable).  As for equipment, you can always start small and build. Buy something to get you started and upgrade when you can.

Same goes with editing your show. You can download a free program like Audacity and watch tutorial on Youtube on how to perform basic editing techniques to your file (adding an intro/outro or taking out filler words like “um, ya know, etc”)

Hosting site

There are many, many, many sites that can host your podcast. You need these sites to actually “house’ your show and give your podcast an RSS feed that you can submit to directories like iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.

These hosting sites range from free to only 30 or 40 bucks a month. Usually, they charge for more space (how big is your file?) and how detailed the analytics you receive are.

The simple idea behind hosting is that you only have to upload shows to one place and it does all the heavy lifting for you (hold your actual shows and distribute them to all the directories).

Submit to the directories

Once you have your audio, upload it to a hosting site, you take the RSS feed that the site creates for your show and submit it for (normally) free to a variety of major platforms. No, you do not have to continually update these platforms, they pull information from your RSS feed, so when your feed is updated (shows added, cover art changed, etc) your show will be updated too.

Every once in a while you have to go in and manually update your show on some of these platforms however that is very rare. Normally hosting sites like Libsyn allows you to update your show in all the places right there on their platform.

Wait, no. Shouldn’t there be more?

There IS more you need to consider when starting and growing your show. We could go into things like branding, distribution, whether you should have a website or not, etc. etc. However, these things can be figured out and tested as you get more comfortable with podcasting. 

One of my favourite quotes is, “Action creates clarity.” and it’s true in podcasting too. Sometimes you don’t know “all the things” you should be doing until you simply START. When you have people listening, and you get more comfortable, it will become clear what you need to grow.

The real reason that’s holding you back isn’t that you don’t know how to start a podcast

I think what keeps people back more often than not from podcasting is the simple FEAR of starting. Often we make things more complicated than they are and allow perfection to keep us immobile from taking action.

No matter how much you plan, your podcast won’t be perfect. Even more, your podcast is probably going to change as you grow your show and “find your voice” podcasting. 

Planning is GREAT and you should be clear on what kind of show you want to create and who it’s for (remember what we talked about with your show concept) but the actual tech side of your show is fairly simple. Remember that there is a natural learning curve to just about anything worthwhile and if you hang in there, producing your show will get easier and easier, I promise.

Let us know what questions you have and maybe we can answer them in upcoming posts!

Heather Parady should I start a podcastAbout the Author – HeatherParady

Heather is the host of The Unconventional Leaders Podcast. She interviews successful entrepreneurs who have overcome great adversity and built something great.

Creating a website, whether personal or professional, can take a lot of work. There is so much room to show your creative flair. However, you also need to consider the practical aspects, such as how to select hosting for your website.
There are a number of different options to consider, primarily determined by your budget, but also consider the specific requirements of the platform or content management system (CMS) you are using.

Where to start

Each CMS has a specific list of minimum hosting requirements. This will include the type of web server, the programming language or runtime that needs to be supported and the database it needs to use. Different versions of a CMS may also require a specific version of the language and that additional features are installed on the webserver.
Hosting a website requires a web server. You can choose between cloud hosting (public or private), dedicated hosting, virtual hosting or shared hosting.


Cloud Hosting

In principle, cloud hosting is the idea of hosting your website where it doesn’t exist on one specific physical server. Instead, you pay for a level of processing power, memory use and disk space.
Cloud hosting is best for websites that require a high level of availability and are available in multiple world regions. It does require a high level of expertise to setup correctly and optimise. However, you pay for the resources you use rather than a fixed amount. Cloud hosting can also be less performant but offers flexibility to increase the server resources available when required.


Dedicated Hosting

A dedicated hosting plan is where your website is hosted on physical servers with exclusive use. Dedicated servers generally offer the best performance and you have complete control.  Some hosting companies do offer managed VPS plans where they will look after the maintenance, backups and monitor usage and network availability.


Virtual Hosting

The virtual will have a dedicated amount of processing, memory and disk space allocated to it and often come in a range of sizes to suit small to large busy websites. In it’s simplest form a virtual server appears as if it is a single dedicated server but is one of many virtual servers sitting on one physical server.
A virtual server is a good option for small to medium-sized businesses. Maintenance and backups can be handled in-house or outsourced to a managed web hosting provider. As with a dedicated server, the virtual server will often give you full control over the environment.


Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the budget solution that is a great option suitable for small businesses.  It is a shared environment so your website can be affected by the other sites the hosting is shared with. This means selecting a reputable company is important.
Shared hosting is cheaper, you may pay $15 dollars per month, rather than hundreds for a virtual or dedicated server. However, shared hosting also limits your ability to run specific environments. Shared hosting is commonly used for CMS systems.

How to select hosting for your website

Small businesses

A dedicated server may be overkill and cloud hosting too unpredictable in cost for a small business. Shared hosting is most likely a good option for you however, check if your CMS has extensive functional customisations.


Medium – to large businesses

For a medium to large organisation, a virtual or dedicated server would be a better choice, especially if you’re running an online store or if you handle sensitive client data.
If you have a large customer base in other parts of the world, then a cloud solution may be better. This is especially true if your web site is duplicated across a number of regions but still appears as a single website for administration.

Considerations when migrating your website to new hosting

  • Your email may also need to be re-hosted. You could continue to host it yourself either in the same hosting environment as the website or on an in-house mail server. Many organisations are increasingly switching to third-party providers such as Office365 or GSuite. Whichever way you go, don’t, forget to run a back-up first and ensure this is copied outside of your mail program. For example, run a backup onto a USB just in case something takes an unexpected turn.
  • When updating your DNS records to switch the address from your old hosting to the new, there can be a period where visitors can be sent to either server. This is not a problem for information-only sites as visitors won’t experience any downtime. For an online store or custom application, this can be problematic should a customer place their order on an old website.
  • switching on the quietest day of the week, and possibly outside of business hours is beneficial.

About the author

Katrina O’Connell is the Managing Director at kmo. Having started her career in the early days of web, Katrina was a part of a team that was one of the first to build a multi-currency payment gateway for both real-time and batch payment processing. In 2007 Katrina started kmo, a web development agency located in Brisbane and works with both clients and agencies throughout Australia. Read more about their work at kmo.com.au


Technology is now an integral part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s phones, portable storage, or even smartwatches, many designers are now working with tech companies to produce items that are not only practical, but also stylish.

Here are some great Christmas gift ideas of the always-connected fashionista in your life… or, perhaps, yourself!

1. She Lion Rainmaker Tote and Laptop Bag

shelion-rainmaker

This tote is full of compartments to hold your laptop, your papers, your phones, and just about anything else you can think of (including the She Lion Go-Getter umbrella that comes with it). And it looks absolutely stunning – it certainly wouldn’t look out of place at any event. She Lion has a whole range of bags if you’re after different sizes or functions.

2. Guess Connect

guess-connect

Like the idea of having notifications on your wrist, but finding the standard smartwatches with full touchscreen too bulky? The Guess Connect has a standard watch-face with a small screen at the bottom for notifications. You can see the basics of incoming notifications at a glance – and it takes voice commands, too!

3. Fitbit by Tory Burch

fitbit-tory-burch

We’ve previously done a giveaway of this product – that’s how much we love this fashionable fitness tracker! It works together with the Fitbit Flex to track  your daily activity and monitor your sleep – all while looking fabulous.

4. LaCie Mirror

lacie-mirror

LaCie Mirror is a portable hard drive made of Corning Glass, which turns it into an actual mirror for your table! It also features an elegant yet functional ebony wood stand display for your home office, designed by French tableware designer Pauline Deltour. It’s the ultimate multitasker, a statement piece for your home office and the business storage device you need to save and carry all your most important multimedia files at home, at the office or on the go.

It’s perfect for travel, as it comes with its own soft pouch, creating a very sophisticated way to carry large capacity digital files within a slim sized drive, without the need for power.

5. Monster Harajuku Lovers Space Age In-Ear Headphones

monster-harajuku

If cute is more your style, you can’t go past these adorable headphones that are a collaboration between Harajuku Lovers and Monster. They’re in-ear headphones, and come with interchangeable colours to match your outfit!

6. Swarovski Supreme USB Bracelet

swarovski-usb

USB sticks are one of the staples of modern life. But forget the flimsy plastic or plain metal casings and get stylish with a USB bracelet made by Swarovski. You’ll always have your data on you… literally.

7.  Tech21 Evo Elite cases for iPhone 6/6s and 6/6s Plus

Tech21-Evo-Elite

Tech21 has just launched the ultimate protection for premium handsets, the Evo Elite range of cases for iPhone 6/6s and 6/6s Plus. The Evo Elite range is the result of an 18-month design and engineering journey that delivers beauty and protection in one.

Just like skin care products, they’ve been styled not to hide the beauty of your new iPhone, but to flaunt it with a smooth aluminium and metallic finish that’s durable and scratch resistant and matched to the iPhone 6 gold, silver and space grey colours.

The cases are very lightweight and super slim, while extremely tough thanks to the embedded Flexshock advanced impact protection which can withstand drops up to 6.6 feet.

8. Opening Ceremony and Intel Mica Smart Bracelet

intel mica 2

intel-mica-3

For any readers based in the USA, Opening Ceremony worked together with Intel to create the gorgeous Mica Smart Bracelet. It’s completely independent from your smartphone (comes with two years of wireless data from AT&T), and comes with a phone number you can give your friends so they can message you. We should note that it doesn’t have an on-screen keyboard so you can only use canned responses. You can also view your upcoming Google and Facebook appointments, and access Yelp, among other things.

9. Spy Pen Camera

spy pen

Not only does this pen look right at home in any office environment… it also has a hidden camera that can take photos and record video. Not that we would recommend using this for any corporate espionage, of course!

10. Tag Heuer Connected

tag-heuer-connect

If you’re based in certain countries (search here), the Tag Heuer Connected is a smartwatch built on Android Wear, with all the features you’d expect such as a full touchscreen, apps, etc. Yet it still has the elegance and refinement you’d expect from the standard range of Tag Heuer watches.

Do you have any recommendations for technology with style? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Have you ever heard of the Internet of Things (otherwise known as IoT)? It’s the idea of all objects having electronics, software, sensors and internet connectivity, so they can talk to each other and we can control them remotely. I had a chance to hear David Rose, author of ‘Enchanted Objects’, at a recent conference in Melbourne. He spoke of things like umbrellas turning blue when it was going to rain–and this was just the start of ‘Connected Things’. This idea of Connected Things all ties into the world of home automation.

Previously home automation used to be so complicated, expensive and time consuming that it was only for those who had a lot of cash to spare. The IoT has changed that with thanks to big shifts in technology lately. This means that everyday people like you and I can reap the efficiency benefits of increased automation in our lives. Below, I’ll share 3 different ways you can automate your home and make a difference to your daily life.

HomeKit (To use with Apple Devices) for Home Automation

In Apple’s words, “HomeKit is a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home”. Or in layman’s terms, HomeKit is Apple’s way of making it easy for product manufacturers and developers to bring physical creations into the IoT, which will allow you to control a lot more of your home from your iOS device no matter where you are.

On Monday, at WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) an announcement is going to be made regarding HomeKit. Apple has released a support guide in preparation for helping customers implement these new ideas. At the moment, these are the products that will integrate with HomeKit, as well as instructions on how to set them up. To get started using HomeKit, you will need an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch with iOS 8.1 or later. As time goes on, more products will join the Home Kit system. Stay tuned for more details!

Stand-alone Home Automation products and IFTTT

There are home automation products that can still be controlled via your mobile device, but don’t require you to buy into a whole ecosystem. These include the WeMo products that are available both in stores and online. They have light bulbs, switches (to control products), light switches, cameras with night vision (to track what your pets get up to or even kids) and much more. WeMo integrates with a free app called If This Then That, or IFTTT. IFTTT is an app and web-based program that controls two programs or objects, and can also automate many other processes beyond WeMo. For example, here is the #WeMo channel. There are many great ‘recipes’ which consist of a trigger and an action–the basic principle of IFTTT. One I would recommend is ‘Turn a Device off after it’s been on for __ minutes today’. Great for when you are going away on holidays–you could have one of the WeMo switches plugged in and a light plugged into that. No more timers set for when you’re away! There are also triggers for things like ‘when the sun sets, turn the light on’. Go on and explore IFTTT’s wide range of recipes, we’ll wait!

Professional Home Automation Systems (installed by an electrician)

If you have cash to spare, there are also home automation systems that can be deeply integrated with your house. These will be more efficient and ready-to-go once installed.

Push by Schneider Electric is a home automation system that can be controlled by Android or iOS devices. It will have to be installed by an electrician (see here for stockists and installers in Australia). It was featured last year on ‘The Block- Sky High’ to control AV, Lighting and Security. Imagine not needing separate remotes to control your TV, DVD Player or sound system (take back control from your kids)! There is also HoneyWell Total Connect ™  System that lets you operate security cameras, lighting in the house, heating and locks.

Featured image: KOTY2010_12 via photopin

This is the first in a series about how  you can increase your efficiency through automation. What do you think about home automation? Is it creepy or cool? How would you use it to increase your efficiency? Share with us in the comments!

Download Get Your Life Back ebook by Kasia Gospos, founder of Leaders in Heels, on how you can streamline and automate your business and life so that you have more time for what you really love.


With more and more of the media we consume being digital, you may have heard a lot of terms about video quality being tossed about. SD, HD, QHD, 4K, and so on. You may also have heard them if you’re in the market for a new TV or computer monitor, or even a new smartphone.

In this article, I’ll explain the various terms, and what they mean to you when it comes to streaming media, as well as when purchasing gadgets with screens.

The Basics

Everything displayed on an electronic screen is made up of a series of tiny dots, called pixels. Images are formed by giving each pixel a different colour, so they make up what you see on the screen. The smaller a screen manufacturer can make a pixel, the more of them you can cram onto a single screen. The idea is to have them so tiny that you can’t see the individual pixels unless you look very closely–what Apple has called their “Retina Display”, for example, although this technique is used by all manufacturers for their high-end products.

Video quality, then, is based on the number of pixels sent to your screen. If the number of pixels in the video is considerably less than the number of pixels on your screen, then the video displays in a very small portion of your screen. If you force it to enlarge to the whole screen, the video will look blocky as many pixels on your screen are used to represent one pixel in the video.

If the number of pixels for the video is bigger than the screen, then only part of the video will be displayed on the screen (if it’s able to display the video at all). If you’re lucky, you can drag it around to see the full picture, otherwise you’ll be stuck with that little corner. As you can see, matching screen size with video quality is quite important!

Of course, there are also other issues to consider such as refresh rate, and whether every line or every second line is refreshed each time. But for this article, we will simply be looking at pixel sizing.

Standard Definition (SD)

Standard definition videos are 720 pixels wide, by either 480 or 576 pixels tall. Although strictly, SD videos are meant to have a 4:3 ratio, the 576 pixels is used by Australian broadcasters for standard definition shows.

Unless specifically stated, almost all free-to-air TV is transmitted in SD. Same with cable TV–in Australia, for example, you need to pay $10/month extra on Foxtel to have access to their high-definition (HD) channels, and only selected ones are available.

Most videos online are available to stream or download in SD. Why would you choose standard definition over high? For the amount of data you would use. Netflix, for example, estimates that you would use about 700MB an hour streaming a SD video. Youtube, which uses different methods of processing and streaming videos, uses around 240MB an hour. If you have strict data limits from your internet service provider or are using mobile data, the data usage is something to keep in mind!

High Definition (HD) – 720p

To confuse the matter, there are a few different definitions of HD. One of those is 720p, though strictly speaking this is noticeably lower definition than the other HD standards. The “p” on the end refers to how the picture is refreshed–it stands for “progressive”, meaning all lines are refreshed on each picture refreshed (as opposed to “i” for “interpolated”, where only every second line is refreshed).

720p HD videos are 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall. It’s mainly used for online streaming–you’ll notice it’s one of the options on Youtube. This will use about 450MB an hour. Netflix doesn’t explicitly specify how much data 720p HD uses, as they include it in their “High” video quality settings together with the higher resolution HD videos. All the official site says is “up to 3GB an hour for HD”.

It’s important to note that some manufacturers market TVs and screens as HD displays when they are 720p, and you should be aware that this is lower definition than what those same manufacturers term as “True-HD” displays.

High Definition (HD) – 1080p/i

This is marketed as “True-HD” or “Full-HD”, to distinguish it from the 720p HD videos and displays. These videos are 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall. 1080i is the general standard for HD TV broadcasts, while 1080p video is used on Blu-Rays.

1080p would use the most amount of data for HD video quality on Netflix, which is about 3GB an hour. Youtube will use about 750MB an hour. Note that many videos on Youtube are not available in HD, though that number is quickly growing.

When purchasing a flat-screen TV, this should be the standard you go for.

4k Ultra HD

This is the latest next-gen standard. A 4k resolution is 3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels tall–in total, four times the pixel density of 1080p. There are only a few TVs out at the moment with a 4k resolution, and you’ll pay through the nose for them. No TV stations currently broadcast in 4k, so it will be a long while before you get any decent use out of your expensive TV anyway!

That said, Netflix does offer some content in 4k. But it will use up 7GB an hour, so tread carefully! Also, there are now video recorders and smartphones that can record 4k video, so you can shoot and show off your home videos in 4k as well.

Don’t get this confused with other similar terms you may have seen thrown around, mainly in the smartphone space–qHD and Quad HD (also, confusingly, called QHD). qHD stands for quarter-definition HD, meaning it’s a quarter of the pixels of 1080p HD. Quad HD is four times the pixels of a 720p display, so while it’s higher than a 1080p display, it’s still not 4k.

Featured image: Ifa zeigt flaches Fernsehen


The Apple Watch went on sale to the public on Friday (24 April 2015), ushering in a new era of wearable technology and yet another area of our lives that is being digitised – and we know it’s only a matter of time until they pervade the business world. While there are definite pros to connecting our bodies to industry-leading technologies (check out the ResearchKit) in order to monitor ailments, you could already be exhibiting signs that you’re overconnected – a new kind of addiction that’s crippling businesspeople the world over. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

1. You’re using every. single. feature of your device

Sure, there are some ways to genuinely use these devices to increase your productivity and leverage workloads, such as voice recording your meetings and using transcribing software afterwards. That being said, we’ve come to a societal pivoting-point where the productivity boost from tech we experienced in the 90s has disappeared during the past decade. If you feel like reading weather alerts on your smart device while making notes on your laptop, checking your heart rate on your wrist and watching your shares plummet from a dashboard is the best use of your time, you may need to revisit your priorities. The worst-case scenario is that our digital dedication leads to secular stagnation: a permanent slump in our economy and everyday lives in general. Yikes! The thing to remember here is to realise that your devices should serve single purposes extremely well, rather than doing a million things ‘sort of’ well.

The worst-case scenario is that our digital dedication leads to secular stagnation: a permanent slump in our economy and everyday lives in general.

2. From a holistic view, your tech use isn’t encouraging growth

This idea lends itself to the above point, however in this instance we’re referring to a wider work-life balance. A recent article in Psychology Today points out a key highlight in modern distractions that is perhaps most pertinent in the digital space: your distractions aren’t personal. In the same way that there’s a strong correlation between younger children with cognitive issues and tech use, using technology to fuel your ‘me time’ could be nurturing habits and self-sentiments that won’t grow you as a person. Of course, this has both personal and business ramifications. You can nip this ailment in the bud by taking some analogue time off, working with something tactile and being unreachable for a while. Connect with yourself!

3. You’ve acquired health problems you didn’t have before tech

If there’s one term that should scare you, it’s digital dementia. Coined by a German neuroscientist, this term literally refers to the cognitive damage that tech overuse causes – which is almost identical to that experienced by people who’ve suffered head injuries or psychiatric illnesses. The Apple Watch has some pretty awesome health features (it reminds you to get up and walk during the day, while also hosting a ResearchKit that tracks your long-term health), but in a paradoxical sense this constant tracking of your health may also be the downfall of your wellbeing. For your health – and your sick leave – you need to know how tech may be ruining your wellbeing. Take a tech-holiday and re-energise your batteries by not using your phones; if you can’t do this for an extended period, set aside a couple of tech-free hours each day.

 Look at the list of expenses your team (and the company in general) is putting forward as brand investments, and – here’s the key – look at actual value returned.

4. Tech is considered an investment (when it may just be a toy)

Lastly, you might want to reconsider your ‘expenses’ if the majority of them are going to the App Store. While it might be nice to have a gold plated laptop, it’s not going to help your day-to-day business processes. Look at the list of expenses your team (and the company in general) is putting forward as brand investments, and – here’s the key – look at actual value returned. If you’re an online business, this might be traffic or conversions, or if you’re an author it would be book sales or publicity. While the findings might be harsh, this is how to cure the ‘impulsive investment’ myths you’re experiencing (and wasting money on).

michelle hutchinson bioMichelle Hutchison is the Money Expert for credit card comparison site creditcardfinder.com.au.

As a media commentator in financial services and online comparison for over five years, Michelle is one of the most prominent Money Experts in Australia. With a background in journalism, Michelle is a regulator contributor to many publications and websites. She loves to crunch data, and uncover interesting trends and insights into Australia’s banking industry and consumer behaviour.

Michelle on Linkedin | Michelle on G+ | @michhutchison