Fresh off a six-month stint at a startup, I was exhausted and wondering what to do next.
As I pondered what new thing to throw myself into, I did what anyone who's been working full-time, commuting two hours a day, and trying to manage life with two kids under the age of 5 would do with so much glorious free time: I created a serious to-do list of all the errands and chores I'd neglected and started chipping away at it. Plus, I finally had time to work out, walk my dog (a lot), clean out junk drawers, and make midweek store runs.
As I did all this stuff, I was pretty much always listening to a podcast. But here's the thing: While it's easy to find podcasts (just scroll through the iTunes New & Noteworthy section for a sea of featured podcasts), landing those you actually love listening to is hard. So I was constantly searching for the next shows to fall in love with--or at least feel pretty crushy about.
Below are the podcasts I subscribe to and listen to regularly. Each informed, inspired, and motivated me--albeit in entirely different ways. If you're on an entrepreneurial journey or aspire to be someday soon, shows like these are a gold mine. I owe every single one listed a huge debt, whether for helping me digest how-tos on marketing tools, reminding me to give my own health and wellness enough of a footprint in the rest of my life's landscape, or just making me feel like I can keep plugging away at my dream project regardless of how difficult it is or how discouraged I am in the moment.
I hope they'll do the same for you.
Tune in to this weekly show hosted by Jess Lively for her inspiring chats with guests, who range from prominent bloggers and creative entrepreneurs to health and wellness experts and best-selling authors such as Elizabeth Gilbert.
The idea of living with more intention in your life is a common thread that runs as a kind of subtext to the mostly hourlong conversations, but each show keeps its primary focus on the guest's path through life and the advice or ideas the guest can offer listeners looking for ways to live better, healthier, more fulfilling lives. While Lively's approach is fresh-scrubbed and full of positivity, she doesn't shy away from being real about her own struggles with eating disorders, work-life balance, and divorce.
As a result, her guests are often willing to share pieces of their lives that make you feel as if you're overhearing the kind of conversation for which ordinarily, to be a part of, you would need to be in the same room.
Podcasting network Panoply just launched this show in October. With Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso at the helm, the #girlboss ethos is brought to your ears.
Weekly episodes feature high-profile, cool-girl guests such as actress Charlize Theron, YouTuber Grace Helbig, and author Sloane Crosley. Amoruso chats with them about their paths to success and challenges along the way. For fans of Amoruso's unconventional path to business building, the show's also a window onto her world.
Part of Entrepreneur On Fire network, this twice-weekly show is full of host Kate Erickson's quick, easy-to-digest productivity hacks and practical suggestions. She covers how to best approach, organize, and systematize the many processes that face business owners, solopreneurs, and startup founders.
From planning content to working with virtual team members and growing your company's audience, Erickson's shows strike a balance between offering up expert information and keeping advice broad enough to be useful regardless of industry or niche.
At first, I didn't think I'd like this show, on the basis of the name alone (judgy me). But don't let the name or show promo images featuring host Ali Brown's perfectly styled blonde hair and pearly-white teeth, throw you. Brown, a longtime business coach to high-earning women, is an excellent interviewer, and she's got an uncanny way of being polished and simultaneously ultra-familiar with her guests.
Her conversations with female entrepreneurs such as Hint Water CEO Kara Goldin, Stella & Dot's Jessica Herrin, and author Kim Kiyosaki go below the surface and dig into the personal and professional milestones, challenges, and live events that have led to their success. Brown keeps it authentic with a frank sense of humor and bits about her own life experiences, from her early entrepreneurial struggles to her more recent run-ins with the drama of raising toddler twins. With entrepreneurship as a backdrop, Brown delivers a show that's more motivational and inspiring than it is process-focused--and that's part of the appeal.
When you need a humor break that may very well also lead you to try a new vitamin supplement or give the latest L.A. fitness trend a try, head for this show hosted by Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari.
While they frequently masquerade as clueless California girls just trying to figure things out, they're actually anything but. Each an entrepreneur in her own right--Kott has a fashion startup, and Simbari is an actress and comedian--the two get frank about topics most people won't talk about unless they've had several drinks (underarm odor and poop, for example). These women take deep dives into topics you're unlikely to find anywhere else (metaphysical workouts, anyone?). Guests range from Los Angeles wellness experts to the hosts' celebrity pals, like Ashley Tisdale and Olivia Thirlby.
Aimed at emerging entrepreneurs, this podcast mixes interview-driven episodes and short, practical tip-based shows from host and branding coach Valerie Howard. Guests include experts from the media, web design, and marketing worlds, who deliver advice on building a cohesive brand for your company from its earliest days.
Guests who've done things a little differently than the pack and created lives they're proud to say they love living are the common thread on this show hosted by serial entrepreneur Lane Kennedy. The conversations are kept casual and conversational, but Kennedy's interest in the pivotal moments in guests' personal and professional lives means there's plenty of fodder for reflection about your own life and career path. That guests bring a wide variety of backgrounds and types of businesses to the show keeps things interesting from week to week.
The podcast of best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, this show continues her investigation into happiness and habits, subjects she's explored in-depth in her books The Happiness Project and Better Than Before. Rubin's sister and TV writer Elizabeth Craft is the co-host.
The audience for Happier is really anyone trying to better understand him- or herself and others. Rubin's ongoing look at different personality types, how they respond to the world, and which habits may be easier or harder for them to incorporate into their lives is valuable food for thought for anyone in the midst of building a team--or trying to get along with one.
The podcast of social media strategist and online marketing expert Amy Porterfield is a no-brainer when you're searching for practical, easy-to-digest action plans for tackling product launches, Facebook marketing, sales promotions, webinars, email list building, and audience growth.
While she does the occasional interview-based show with business experts from the online marketing landscape, most episodes are tightly focused how-tos that give insight into Porterfield's own process. Even if you're building an entirely different kind of business, her wisdom and experience promoting content and building audiences willing to engage with that content is worth a listen when you're in growth mode.
These podcasts inspired the answer to my what-next question after startup life. This fall, I launched the Spirit of 608 podcast. On my show, I feature women at the intersection of fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and tech. It's a space I call FEST, and as I often say on the 'cast, I believe it's the future of fashion. Many listeners are early-stage startup founders. I aim to be informative, but also inspiring and motivating for anyone on the entrepreneurial grind. I invite you to give Spirit of 608 a listen!