The Power of Storytelling

WITH

Brandy Whalen

The Limitless Podcast

The Power of Storytelling

with Brandy Whalen

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Ever wonder why more and more people are getting into podcasts? It’s because podcasting is the easiest way to create quality content through storytelling.

Listening to a podcast is like eavesdropping. Imagine you’re in a restaurant and while having your meal, you’re hearing two people behind you having a vulnerable conversation. Through a podcast, you can absorb information while doing your day-to-day activities. You learn someone’s journey, in both struggle and victory.

Brandy Whalen co-founded Kitcaster, a podcast booking agency that connects people who want their stories to be heard. Kitcaster helps content creators understand what resonates with their audience and what value they can add to their lives.

"Your audience doesn't just want to know what you do, but they want to know how you do it and how it's gonna help them."

- Brandy Whalen
@LimitlessShow @franklyco_

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IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN

  • The power of telling your story through your podcast.

  • How a podcast can grow your business.

  • How to develop a connection with people so they’ll want to pick up the phone and engage with you.

  • The basic setup of recording your first podcast episode.

LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE

Johanna Buchweitz:
How would you feel if time and money were no object, or if you always knew that the answers you sought were at your fingertips, or that the creative spark you would need for the next project was always going to be there. You would feel limitless. I’m Johanna Buchweitz and It is my honor to welcome all of you to Limitless, the show where we have open, honest and direct communication with extraordinary women in business to provide you with actionable next steps for super growth based on their proven success tactics.
Joining me on today’s episode is Brandy Whalen, co-founder of Kit Caster, a podcast booking agency and resident story craft guru. She helps people quilt together patches of their personal, professional and visionary journey to create a compelling story. Brandy, welcome to Limitless!

Brandy Whalen:
Thank you, Johanna, I am really excited to be here.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I’m so excited to have you here to kick off the show. I always love to ask my favorite question, which is to share, like, for me, I personally believe that all driven female entrepreneurs are modern day superheroes. So as the superhero entrepreneur where you are, Brandy, what’s your superpower?

Brandy Whalen:
That’s a great question. I would say humility is my superpower. You know, that’s probably a very unlikely answer. But I think that given that I know that, I don’t know everything and that I am always learning and constantly learning from the people around me and willing to iterate anything. I think that that is my ultimate superpower.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I love that. And I also love how the way you explained it, it shows that you’re not just always learning. You’re actually excited. It sounds like you’re excited to be always learning. And you’ve kind of accepted that as part of the journey, which I think is so cool and I think definitely will give you a leg up as you continue to grow.
So could you share with all of us this thing a little bit about Kit Caster? Like, you know, what it is and how you got started?

Brandy Whalen:
Sure. Yeah. So, Kit Caster, as you mentioned before, we are a podcast booking agency, which is kind of weird. It’s, you know, it’s new. And people are like, what does that even mean? But essentially, we are the conduit between people who want to be on podcasts and then podcast hosts who are looking for guests. So really, it’s, it’s finding the right matches.
So we have somebody that we’re working with that has an interesting story to share or expertise to share, and where we’re introducing them to a podcast host that would like to have them on their show to conduct an interview and a conversation, really. So I kind of joke like my job, like I’m the facilitator of meaningful conversation. And that’s really what we do. And it’s pretty cool to be able to connect to folks who have never met each other before. And as you know, from being a podcast host, you can get pretty deep and it gets to be a rather intimate and vulnerable conversation, which is something that I think that is lacking in our modern day society.
When we’re all tuned into social media and quick news clips, it’s really rare that we sit down with somebody and have a real conversation that we’ve never met before.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah. So what made you want to even start this?

Brandy Whalen:
So I had a traditional PR agency before launching Kit Caster, so I would integrate podcast guest interviews into kind of an overall PR campaign. And really it was watching the excitement and the thrill from my clients. I mean, I would get done with a podcast recording and they were like, That was incredible. I want more of that.
I need – I want to do more of that and less of writing blog articles and contributing to a, to a written piece like this is really this is where I shine. And I think there’s a lot of people who shine in audio. It really is one of those mediums that you’re able to kind of peel things back a bit and and get to it. So myself and my co-founder, he actually had a podcast for ten years and he interviewed entrepreneurs and really founders of businesses, mostly local here in Denver, Colorado. But we just, you know, by nature of what I do and him hosting a podcast, like I would pitch him to my clients. So we got to know each other. And you know after my clients would be interviewed by Ryan, they would just be like, okay, that was really cool.
Let’s do some more of that. And then Ryan and I were having coffee one time. We were like, This is a neat medium. And it’s special. It’s special from everything else. And how can we take this further? So we decided to launch Kit Caster and we really just kind of threw it out there.
Ryan sent an email to all the people that he’d ever had on his podcast. I think it was like 800. He was deep into his episodes, so he sent it out and was just like, Hey, you’ve been on my podcast. You had fun. Is this something you would like to do more of? And through that, we ended up getting our first kind of round of clients to test out to see if it was a model that we could scale and work. So three years later, 25 employees, we’re still rocking and rolling.

Johanna Buchweitz:
That is awesome. So for anyone who’s listening who maybe is not as familiar with the space, at least when it comes to being a guest on a podcast, who should try to be a guest on a podcast? Like, you know, a lot of us, I think, see a lot of personal brands or a lot of authors, like you said, a lot of PR, especially when you have like let’s say a book releasing or product releasing.
But is it also good for like business owners, anyone who’s listening who is saying, yep, I’m a female entrepreneur, I didn’t really consider going on a podcast? Is it something I should actually be considering?

Brandy Whalen:
Well, first of all, I think that everybody should go on podcasts. I think everyone and this kind of goes to what I really, truly love doing at Kit Caster, and that is helping people find their story because everyone has a story. And, you know, I think that all too often we hear from people that are maybe over sharers or more willing to put themselves out there.
But we all should do that. I think that there’s some real power in identifying your narrative in your story and then bringing it to the world. So I think everyone should at least be a guest on a podcast. I think that that should absolutely be on your list of things to do. For us, you know, whom we are typically engaging with is.
Yes, like authors. Sure. But also B2B business owners and really kind of talking about their entrepreneurial journey. And, you know, maybe they’re bringing something disruptive to a particular space and to talk about from kind of a pain point perspective, you know, like I was seeing I was seeing these hurdles in this industry. And so I developed this to help, you know, ease the pain of this particular aspect of whatever business that they’re catering their technology towards.
So we see a lot of benefit in that. I often call it the modern day white paper, especially if you’re talking to somebody who has some knowledge in a particular technology, like, let’s just say artificial intelligence, you go on a show and the host has some familiarity or maybe some expertise of their own. And to have a conversation that they’re able to ask you questions and kind of pull that information out of you in a way that’s natural and really informative to the listener.

Johanna Buchweitz:
So anyone who’s listening who thinks, okay, that sounds amazing, but maybe I’m an introvert, maybe I’m not really comfortable like being the face of my brand. Like I want to highlight my business, but I have no idea how to talk about it on a show for like 30 minutes or an hour. What would you say to them?

Brandy Whalen:
I would say you absolutely can and you absolutely should. I think that if especially if you’re a business owner, what we have found with a lot of our clients is that after they go on, let’s say five podcasts, because I think sometimes people have a hard time talking about what they do. And after you’ve after you’ve kind of talked about your your product, your service, your your passion on five different podcasts, you have a better understanding of what connects with people, and you’re actually able to to better articulate what you do and how it’s helpful because we all know that we don’t nobody really likes to be just talked at like I don’t necessarily want
to just know what it is that you do, but I want to know why you do it and I want to know how it’s going to help.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I like that. I think that’s great advice. So if someone is, let’s say, preparing for their first podcast interview, how can they actually prepare? What is something that they can do to help make sure that they craft a really good story and are able to clearly articulate like what they’re doing and like you said why they’re doing it?

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah. So I would say that, starting out, because everyone has some stories, right? Some customer stories or maybe even something with your team, your employees. So conversations in podcasting and storytelling are so powerful. So just trying to identify what some of those stories might be like, maybe a client came to you. They were struggling with this.
Like for us, I think one of the more pivotal moments in our business was when I was working with a female entrepreneur who was just two years into her business and she was really struggling to concisely explain what it is that she’s doing and in a powerful way to really, like, pull people in. And after going on, we call it the podcast tour.
So she went on ten different shows and she called me and she was like, This has been life changing for me. She’s like, I just have been struggling so, so much to figure out what actually connects and when I can see the excitement on a host or they continue to dig further and ask me more questions like I know that I’m on to something.
So I would say to anyone who’s trying to put a story together, start to think about some of those times in your career that were important to you, that really stood out, that people can relate to, because we all relate to stories. So when you can pull something together that perhaps other people have experienced or felt in their career, in their life, that’s when we make those true connections. And that’s what brings people in to want to listen. So try to find those stories. Also statistics, I think stats are really powerful. So pulling together, especially if you’re if you’re representing a brand or an organization that you can throw some really powerful stats like, you know, X percentage of people have this, this problem in their life, like being able to attach some numbers to it, I think.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I love that.

Brandy Whalen:
So those are some good starters to start to figure out how you’re going to tell that story.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I like what you said about the story piece so much because it’s really putting that humanness into it, because I think so many of us like, you know, when we’re running our business, like we want to highlight all the amazing things our business does, but we kind of want to remove ourselves and our journey from it and our reasoning because we want to like put all the attention and the spotlight on what we’re doing. And so I really love that because it does take the human aspect into consideration, I think, and it makes it more like it just makes it more relatable when you’re able to share all of it and not just like, okay, I developed this product, I developed the service. Like, you know, like, let me just talk about all the like small details of it and what it does.
So I think that that’s really great advice. Thank you. When it comes to finding the right podcast to actually go on, how can someone think about that? Anyone who’s listening right now is like, okay, I love this, this is great. I’m going to start crafting my story, but how do I know which podcast actually have an audience that’s mostly my target customers.
Is there a database or some kind of resource that they can turn to to get that information?

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah, there are some different resources that you can look into. There’s a platform called Listen Notes and you can search by the genre. So if you have, let’s say, like five different areas that you can speak to, you can you can search those different criteria and it will populate a list of podcasts that would fit that, you know, as, as you probably know, podcasts like demographic aspect to figuring out who are your listeners.
It can be challenging, especially if you’re streaming on multiple platforms. And how do you aggregate that data and and and really make some good, good use of it. So, you know, I think listeners is a great resource just to be able to from a very high level and, and just key words that you can speak to be able to search. There’s also a platform called Pod Chaser, and they also have a great database of podcasts and searchable lists the same sort of way. And in fact, you can kind of – they aggregate lists so you can if you know if there’s a particular machine learning for example, if that’s kind of what your core expertise is, it will pull a huge list of all the machine learning podcasts and lists that other people have created as well.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I like that think those are really cool resources. So if someone actually then finds a couple of, let’s say podcast that they think would be a really good fit, how do they reach out? Like, how do they actually become guests on the podcast?

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah. So you touched on this a little bit, but somebody just talking about their business and themselves. Yes, of course. During the podcast, you want to dive into that. But really, just like as you’re doing now, like providing value. Like what value are you going to bring to the podcast? How can you connect with the listeners? Because a podcast host wants to bring value to their listeners to keep their listeners engaged.
So instead of saying, Hey, I’m Brandy Whalen, I’m the co-founder of Kit Caster, you should have me on your podcast. Why should I have you on my podcast? Like, Hey, I’m Brandy Whalen and I run a podcast booking agency and I can tell your listeners what’s important in crafting their story and how they themselves can get on podcasts. So making sure that you’re not just giving your resume, if somebody is interested, they can likely find you on LinkedIn.
They can look at your resume, tell them why they should have you on the show and what value you’re going to bring to their listeners. And especially, that’s something that hasn’t been talked about before on this particular podcast.

Johanna Buchweitz:
That’s great. Yeah, because it’s just like a little bit tweak in language and your communication style that again focuses on like what value you can provide. And like you said, like as a host, you always want to make sure you’re able to deliver some kind of value to your listener. And so I think that’s a great way to just kind of, you know, word.
And when you’re reaching out, when it comes to calculating, let’s say, returns on your investment, especially if you hire an agency, how do you do that? I’m like a huge data person. I love data. And like you even touched on briefly before, sometimes it can be a little bit challenging to gather, you know, especially like listener data with a podcast.
So if, let’s say someone wants to hire an agency, how can they think about it at first, like I would say, how do you guys even measure it? Like, what do you use? Like specific tools or or walk us through that a little bit, if you don’t mind.

Brandy Whalen:
Well, we are your worst nightmare for those who are interested in the data. It is so challenging. So it is you know, that is one thing when we tell our clients, when people are engaging with us, it is definitely more on the brand awareness side of things. You know, if we have a client that comes to our potential client, that’s like, oh, I just and I launched this product and I need to, you know, I’m turning to podcasts so that I can move, you know, 500 units.
I always say, like, that’s – I don’t want like – that’s just not the engagement that we’re necessarily looking for because it’s not a Google ad. It’s different. And people are tuned in. I mean, think about it. Like when people are consuming podcasts, they’re consuming podcasts on whatever streaming platform they utilize, right? So whatever your call to action is, mostly you’re asking somebody to leave what they’re doing.
So let’s say that somebody is mowing the lawn and they’re listening to a podcast. And in the podcast you’re saying, Come check out our website. That’s a really hard ask because you’re asking somebody to not only leave the platform that they’re on currently while they’re multitasking, but to go, you know, to move to another system to find you.
I think that that is, you know, it’s more brand recognition. So more that people hear you and then kind of using various methods to get in front of that right target audience. So we see podcasting as very much like a top of the funnel brand awareness sort of activity. So that doesn’t do a great job answering your question when it comes to analyzing the ROI.
But that’s really kind of what we tell folks. It’s really challenging and even in the podcast advertising space, it’s challenging to find those analytics and to kind of and kind of prove that ROI it’s very different from a Google AdWords sort of campaign. And it will bring about different things.

Johanna Buchweitz:
That makes sense. I was always very curious about that. So anyone who’s listening, I think now we all need to come together and build a new like software platform that’s better at analytics for podcasts, because clearly we all need that. But that’s a very good point. And it’s so interesting because especially with advertisements, right? Like I always thought about it like, you know, one of these larger podcast like let’s say a Louis House podcast, right?
Like they have a ton of ads and people are spending a decent amount of money to advertise their company there, but without really fully knowing what kind of return they can get, it’s really, really interesting because I, I actually joined something called Brand Builders Group a few years ago, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with Brand Builders Group, but they’re really all about personal branding. And I only heard about them after their founder, Rory Vaden, was featured on Lewis House podcast. I thought he was so compelling and it was so interesting what he was offering. And he said, We’re offering like a free brand strategy call and check us out. So I checked them out and like that’s how I found out about them. But I remember as I was like booking that free call, I was like, I wonder how many other people have actually done this? So it’s a little bit wild to me that, that something like that is so hard to kind of calculate. Like before you actually go on a podcast, obviously afterwards you can get your data from there to see what your conversions were, but to not even know before is so interesting.
But like, I guess, like you said, it’s very much brand awareness. So how does that differ from brand awareness in other channels like whether it’s, you know, traditional PR like being featured in articles versus even just like social media. How, how is it different? What is the benefit of doing podcasts over those other mediums?

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah, I mean what I tell our clients and potential clients and really what you just said is connecting with people on a completely different level. I love audio and I always have. Before podcasts became popular, I was listening to talk radio like my entire life. And it is a way. I mean, we again, we’re connected to stories. We want to feel connected to the people that we’re engaging with, whether it’s, you know, signing up for a course. I know that I listened to Brene Brown’s podcast and she does this amazing ad, and it was probably a year ago I don’t know if you if you’ve heard of this brand, but she promotes that brand on her podcast and she does such a fabulous job of telling their story.
They’re a family of seven and one of the one of the children had an autoimmune disease. And what they put in their body was really important. So like it is – regardless of what you’re – it, it can be effective. You just have to tell a story. You have to pull people and you have to connect with people and that’s how it is from a brand awareness perspective and a conversion perspective.
That is the most important thing that you can do is like developing that connection so that people want to to pick up the phone and call somebody and engage with a strategy session or, you know, like you really have to give people something that they’re going to they can’t stop thinking about you. I mean, I kind of equate podcasting.
I admitted this on a podcast a month ago, so now I feel like it’s kind of out in the open. But I love eavesdropping on conversations. I’m in the coffee shop, I’m at a restaurant. I am certainly listening to people next to me. And I think that most people do. They just maybe don’t admit that they’re doing that. But podcasting, it’s like I’m allowed to eavesdrop on a conversation and I would say to people like get vulnerable, people like vulnerability. They want to know that, you know, it hasn’t always been easy for you and you’ve definitely hit some, some roadblocks and you’ve overcome things that you didn’t know you’d be able to overcome.
I mean, that’s I think that that is something that, again, like we all connect with that. I mean, it’s like every story, right? Every story that we engage with as human beings has a pitfall, usually has a character that falls down and has to pull that. Those are the stories that we love. So give that to folks on podcasts and that’s how people are going to connect with you and they’re going to reach out to you.
I mean, I’m not saying that you’re not going to get any conversion from podcasts at all. I’m saying that, you know, it’s not going to be like a flood of people coming to you. And unless you do something really powerful and really give somebody something that they they can connect with and open yourself up to connecting. Yeah.

Johanna Buchweitz:
No, that makes sense. And it’s true what you said because even if we think about like the best marketing and the best companies that do that, like to me it comes to mind is like a Nike. It’s like they tell a story really well that you feel something and it’s so recognizable that like after, you know, 5 seconds, you’re like, it’s Nike ad Yep, I know.
Like because it really helps, like, you feel and it tells that story. Do you find that the storytelling aspect is easier and more effective from podcast versus, you know, in print?

Brandy Whalen:
I do. I absolutely do. I mean, I think that I think that audio kind of falls into this really unique category where it’s not video. So you still leave a little bit to the imagination of the listener. Now you’re listening to someone and you’re like, I’m imagining their facial expressions. I’m trying to kind of put myself in that story, you know?
But I get to hear their voice and I get to hear the fluctuation in their voice. And when they get excited and when they get sad, you can feel that emotion through somebody’s voice. It’s a really hard thing unless you’re writing a colorful, like, you know, fiction novel or, you know, if you’re really good at putting that written story together, it’s really hard to get that emotion through. So I, I think that it’s very different from the written word. And you also get to review it, right? Like you write something, you look at it, you edit it, you read it probably four or five times, maybe more. Maybe you have somebody else look at it. Podcasts are pretty raw.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah.

Brandy Whalen:
You know, you just, you’re talking and a lot of times they’re not that they don’t most people don’t edit. Do you edit your podcasts?

Johanna Buchweitz:
Slightly, but usually only for something super dramatic? Yeah. Like nothing for like anything small. Like, you know, unless all of a sudden the siren goes off in the background and something like that happens. Like we live in New York. Yeah. You know, everybody hears a siren no matter how high you are, like, otherwise. No, and that’s true because it becomes very authentic and real conversations and I think some people who are listening might find that a little bit scary because it’s like, you know, at least with print, like you said, you can review it, make sure it sounds good.
But I would say to challenge that is sure, maybe it’s a little bit scary at first, but it’s so authentic like and it’s true like, you know, I’ve recorded episodes with guests and where like you see their emotion, like the tears come to their eyes and you feel it in their voice. And, you know, sometimes they’re like, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I just did that.
But like to someone who’s listening, like at least like even when I listen to like episodes where that happened, I’m just like blown away. Like, I get goosebumps. Like, I’m excited because I feel the passion and the power of their story. It’s as though I was like a part of their journey, even if I’m just hearing about it for the first time.
So it’s true, definitely what you said. It does become really powerful. And I think the other thing is that let’s say if you don’t go the agency route for someone who wants to like do this themselves, I’d say they’re like in a lower budget. It’s such a low cost thing and it doesn’t take that much time for you to invest to get like you might not be able to quantify this big return, like you said, but you are still getting brand awareness, so why not do it even if it feels a little bit scary, even if it feels a little bit uncomfortable?
I know I was scared to even launch this podcast and now it’s like my favorite thing ever. So I think like just putting yourself out there, it really could, could benefit you in so many different ways. So everyone should definitely get out there and try it.

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah. And you think about too, I mean, we’re living in a time where especially through social media, everything like nothing is real, like what is reality and where is it? Just, I think podcasts are this – it’s so beautiful. I mean, the fact that you get to have interviews with folks and they start to tear up or they get emotional.
How amazing is that? I mean, that’s what we’re here for, right? Like, I want to – I want that authenticity. I want to, I want to hear that. I want to know that like, I’m not alone because I think we’re all struggling in one way or another. And, you know, I was listening to one of your podcast episodes. Oh, gosh, she was like hormone.

Johanna Buchweitz:
The hormones specialist Jenny Swisher.

Brandy Whalen:
Yes, yes, yes. That was incredible. It was so amazing. And she was like we’re living in a man’s world. Like, our bodies are not meant to work this way. Like the female body is so different. And the way that you’re – when you’re optimal – the different things that you should be doing, I mean, those are things that I was like, Gosh, I’ve always felt that way.
But to hear somebody say that is just like it felt validating. I think that podcasts often validate a lot of things that we’re feeling and you don’t really get that from many other mediums.

Johanna Buchweitz:
That’s so true. And I think the other thing too is like everyone who’s kind of come on this show and a lot of female entrepreneurs who I’ve met, they all talk about the power of community, but sometimes the community is not as obvious. Like not all of us are fortunate enough at this moment to be surrounded by that supportive community that we can learn from, that we can grow from, and that we feel good to be around and sure.
Like, you know, hopefully that changes for us over time. But today there is something that you can do. You can listen to a podcast and that helps you tap into a community. Like I used to joke when I like couple years ago when I first started my first company, I was like, you know, these people are my mentors. Like, I never met them. I don’t know if I ever will. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But like they were my mentors in business. I didn’t have that community in the specific industry I was in, and that’s how I learned. And it’s such a beautiful thing to be able to tap into that, like you said. And I think that’s yeah, that’s really is I love podcasts clearly.

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah. No, it’s so – it’s so incredible. And you think too, Johanna, like our circles of influence have become so much smaller. I mean, part of it is because we were kind of forced to do that right where we were asked to kind of shut ourselves in. And then when we opened ourselves up, we kind of just brought back the people that were closest to us.
And that doesn’t necessarily work. I think. I mean, I think we’re seeing it on a greater like worldwide just like political arena is that we’re kind of just kind of self-selecting into our little groups and not stepping outside and realizing that there are so many other groups of people and that we need to be connecting with maybe even folks that don’t necessarily align with us 100%. But we need to be having conversations with them and I think that that’s really beautiful about podcasts as well. I mean, I’ve been on podcasts where I wasn’t necessarily completely aligned with a host, but we were able to find common ground. And I think that that is like that’s something that is just missing, is just this open dialog and this ability to to come together somewhere in the middle, kind of knowing that ultimately we all really deep down want the same things we just had to get.

Johanna Buchweitz:
And I love that because it helps you see other people’s perspectives. And like you said, like, you know, if it doesn’t align with your own and even if you fully disagree with somebody else’s point of view, you still can learn in like a peaceful and loving way to like, see how somebody else thinks and hear them, even if you don’t share the same beliefs.
So when it comes to being like a good podcast guest, besides like this storytelling piece, which I think is so powerful, are there any best practices that people should really kind of think about and make sure that they do when they’re guests on podcast?

Brandy Whalen:
Well, I think there’s a lot because it is audio based. Make sure that you have good audio equipment. And when I say good audio equipment, I do not mean spend thousands of dollars on audio equipment. I mean spend $40 on an external microphone and have some headphones, whether they’re your ear buds or over the ear headphones, something that is going to really help your sound quality. And also just get yourself in a quiet room, keep things a little sound absorbent. You’re not going to want to you’re not going to want to record from a room that has no furniture in it or, you know, carpets help quite a lot, but just that is a very basic thing. And it does help because I think people are are sophisticated when it comes to listening because we’re used to hearing good quality audio and we don’t want to hear bad audio.
Even just preparing, you know, not all hosts are, are, are good at maybe directing or navigating a conversation. They may have a list of questions that they have typed up in advance and really definitely want to follow the flow of those line of questions, even if it doesn’t seem to be a natural flow from the conversation.
So helping it out a little bit like, you know, maybe you’re on a topic that’s really it’s interesting. You seem to be having some good connection around and then all of a sudden you get like pulled over into something else that you weren’t quite ready for yet. It’s okay to, like, gently bring somebody back, know, like, hey, just like one more thing to add there before we move on to that.
Like, this is also a really important aspect. So just, just being able to kind of massage and navigate the conversation a little bit so that it’s just a pleasant flow. You’re really good at the flow of the conversation, by the way.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Thank you. I just I like having conversations and I’m always very interested by what people have to say. So truth be told, anyone who’s listening I originally had questions always, but I’m like, Oh, you know, when people ask them and I pretty much like ten out of ten times as like 2 to 3 of the questions I’m prepared. I was never actually ask them because like the conversations are so interesting and I always love like what people have to say. Like everything you’re saying is so interesting that I always like want to learn more because for me, I also – my learning styles are asking questions. So it’s very easy because I also learn so much from these conversations too, which I think, you know, at least as a host, pretty cool and as a guest to like I always learn from other people when I’m a guest on someone’s podcast. So I think it’s always very fun learning opportunities, which is pretty cool.

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah, there are so many happy byproducts to podcasting. I mean, being able to learn from other people, also networking. You know.
You’re like, we’re going to have a conversation for an hour. Like we’ve connected. We’re likely going to connect again in the future. Like these are these are relationships that you’re building just through conversation.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah, for sure. The networking piece is definitely so valuable and it’s fun. You do get to grow your network and learn from people, which is awesome. So from like the actual business side of things, right? Because you’ve given us all so much value and taught us so much when it comes to podcasting. But from your own perspective as a female entrepreneur, like walk us through a little bit how that was like when you first started out like any kind of pain points that you had or things that like you wish you knew ahead of time. Someone could have said, you know, Brandy, this is what you should have done in the beginning. What would that have been like? What would have made your life easier knowing when you first launched your own company?

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah. I mean, I. I’m a big believer of, like, falling down and lifting yourself. Like, that’s how you learn, right? You make mistakes, and then you reflect on it like, hey, that didn’t work out so well. How can I do things differently in the future? So I don’t really, I guess I don’t really see anything as necessarily, you know, any sort of they’re all learning lessons.
I’m also a mom of three, so I think for me when people were like talking about work life balance and, you know, just – and I like tried to adopt so hard this idea of work life balance and I finally, like, just threw my hands up in the air and I was like, This is ridiculous. There’s no such thing, this is stupid, but I have figured out, like, so my work life balance is like when I’m at work.
I’m at work. Yeah. Obviously there are things that come up with the kiddos that I have to remove myself from work occasionally, but like that’s I’m here, I’m dedicated. When I’m at home, I’m at home. I shut it down. I used to, you know, open my computer at night and, you know, I’d be checking my messages on my phone all the time, super responsive to everyone’s needs.
And that’s just like that’s just a recipe for burnout and failure. So when I’m home, I’m home. I put my phone away. I don’t answer emails. And when you create those boundaries, people respect them. I think when I first started, I thought I had to be like an on call physician that, you know, it was like a life or death emergency that I had to respond to this email, which we you know, that was kind of when we started this company.
What we wanted to instill in everyone here is that there’s a podcast emergency ever. Like, yes, maybe somebody missed their interview. No problem. We can get that rescheduled. It’s not that big of a deal. So, you know, making sure that I think that that was a huge piece for me that I wish somebody would have said, like, hey, you’re never going to have a balance here.
The only thing I can tell you is like when your – just show up fully to whatever it is that you’re doing.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Well, congratulations on, first of all, figuring that out. I love that you said that because someone even last week said to me they’re like, balance doesn’t exist. And then like a couple of people, like I was talking to, they’re like, What do you mean balance doesn’t exist? Of course it has to exist. What else am I supposed to do?
But I love what you said about that, because the fact that, like, nothing is really that urgent. Like I like how you explained it, like how you think you’re an on call physician, like it’s life or death if you don’t send me email, if you don’t respond to someone. And so many of us do that, like so many of us do that, where we everything is like a fire drill.
Everything has to happen right now. And the fact that you’re able to shut off at night and just be like, It’s okay, I can wait till tomorrow, like is incredible. And I think it’s so hard for us to to accept that and to actually start doing it. But it’s so important to like beating the burnout and to like actually being able to enjoy the life that you’ve created.
And also being able to enjoy the work that you’re doing without it feeling like it’s becoming a burden because it’s never, never ending. Like at any point throughout the day, how did you even teach yourself to be comfortable with that? Like when you first started trying to do that, to like shut off and to say it’s okay. Like I can, you know, email this person tomorrow.
Did it feel uncomfortable and did it like feel painful? Like, did you have to go back and forth a couple of times thinking like, maybe I should send this email, I’m done for this email, maybe I should do it, maybe I just did. Like, how did you teach yourself to be good with that?

Brandy Whalen:
I mean, you know, there is a couple of different things that happened. I was always observing. So I think to me, like being out to dinner with a friend or my husband, he’s actually really good. Like, he definitely disconnects, but if somebody is like checking their phone while they’re talking to you, like, I was like, oh my gosh, it makes me lose it.
Like, I just I like, I’m like, is everything okay? Are you good? Like, do you need to go? I don’t understand what’s happening right now. Am I boring you? What am I – what’s going on? And then I had to, like, have some serious self-reflection because I’m like, I do that. Like, I’ll be at home, will be sitting at the dinner table and I’m like, checking my phone and my kids are talking to me. I’m like, How terrible is that? And they’ve never called me out on it, but they should. So, you know, there’s part of that where I felt it from other people and then I started to then reflect like, Oh, I actually do that too. And like, I’m very – I try really hard and I definitely catch myself, but I have an Apple Watch, which is amazing and terrible at the same time.
But I’ll be in like a meeting and then like my wrists will be vibrating and then I’ll look at my watch and it’s just like it throws everything off. So yeah. So that I also had some health stuff pop up that I just, you know, I was just like trying to do everything and trying to be everything for everyone. And I just, I was like, you know what? I’m not going be able to do any of this if I continue down this path. So I definitely need to start to create boundaries around what it is that I’m doing. And when we started our company, we were really that was really important to my co-founder and I is that we didn’t want people’s expecting responses at, you know, midnight or, you know, whatever time of day they’re working.
Doesn’t mean that we have to be working at that time. So we’re very explicit. When we started campaigning with our clients, we work 9 to 5 Mountain Standard Time. That’s it. So you can you feel free to email us outside of that, but don’t expect a response back at 10 p.m..

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah, no, I love that. And I think it’s so good to set boundaries even for myself. Like if I send an email in like weird hours, I usually like caveat the message or put it like the subject. Please do not answer until your normal time. Like, and I would say like, hey, I’m sending this to you on a Saturday at 7 p.m. because I had like 30 minutes and I was like, Let me get done, but please do not answer this. Like on the weekend, ever. Like this is like, live your life, like it’s like my time that I’m free. That’s why I’m sending it. But I love that. Like to set boundaries like that. And to your point, it’s like a lot of people do respect it. You maybe get a little bit of pushback at first, but then that also kind of helps you filter out like the clients that you don’t want.
Like if you have a client who is complaining that you’re not sending them an email at two in the morning, like, I don’t really want to work with you. Like, thank you so much for trusting me and like, you know, us building this relationship, but it’s not going to work. And like if that’s the expectation and you’re better off going to someone who’s like cool with that because it’s, it’s yeah, no, Like that’s, that’s such an important thing to be able to, to set those boundaries. Do you find that most of your clients respect it and like they’re happy with it and they appreciate it.

Brandy Whalen:
100%, yes. We’ve only had a couple instances where we’ve had it was actually a podcast host that was emailing on a weekends and just started, you know, wasn’t getting response and then was like emailing all of us. And really they were looking to fill a spot, they had somebody like back out the last minute, they do a live show.
And so I get like from their perspective, like they needed to, they needed to find a guest and they knew that we would be a good source for that. But, you know, I was also very clear, like I just told everyone, like you’re probably getting these emails, like just wait till Monday, it’s okay. And we’re going to set that, establish our expectation like, hey, we’re happy to help, but we’re never going to be working on the weekends.
But we’re going to respond to you as soon as we get in on Monday. So, you know, and I think it’s really good of you to say that when you have that time and it falls outside of business hours that you’re telling your team like, hey, I understand you’re probably not working nor should you be.
I think that’s really important. And that’s something that people – I did – I was – I would do that. I get up early so I would like start to email people like 5 a.m. and That’s the worst feeling. When you wake up, you open up your email and you’re like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been sent like ten emails. Is she okay? So, you know, just having that awareness is really important, especially as a leader.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah. I mean, anyone who works with me knows I’m up at 5 a.m. and I will send messages that weird times because it fits with my schedule. But like I always, I have to put that in because I don’t want anybody to ever be nervous or like respond in a time that’s inconvenient for them. Like, I’m just sending it because it’s convenient for me at that time.
But I’m sure that like even you said, you have like what, 25 employees currently.

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah.

Johanna Buchweitz:
So I’m sure they appreciate that too, because you develop such a healthy culture, right? Because like I think especially during COVID, so many organizations really struggled to help employees understand like the line between, you know, when work starts and stops because like, you know, especially people who are used to coming into an office and became fully, fully virtual or it was like, you know, work never truly ended because people would get on calls like, you know, like at any time of the day, morning, night and that line just got so blurred that it became really, really painful.
So I’m sure that culture that you created is very much appreciated by your employees. Have they shared that with you? Like, is that one of the things that they love about working with Co-star is that they get that unofficial work life balance?

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah, absolutely, for sure. And I and I think and we’re pretty forceful too, like if somebody is hanging like we we do have an office, so somebody is hanging out like after hours. It’s different if you’re hanging out socially, but if you’re like heads down and working like get out of here, what are you doing? This is all going to be here tomorrow. Like, it’s not. It’s it’s not. You need to go home. Yep. So, you know, that is and I think that that has come like through learning of like just from the way that I had worked up until literally probably two years ago of always being on, even when I was on vacation, I would still be checked in.
So that’s a huge one for us too. Like when you go on vacation, you’re on vacation. Like you set, you’re out of office, you don’t check your email, everything will be fine. You’re going to come back and nothing is going to be lost. You’re going to be just fine. So that’s another thing. Like, I think people have a hard time like checking themselves out and that’s really important to me and it is my co-founder.
So we want it to be really important for our team as well. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s something that you have to establish and you kind of have to force people to do because they’re so used to working other, another way that they, we all have these habits that we’ve established through different work cultures and to have to basically retrain people to take care of themselves because if they’re not if they’re not in a good place like nothing else matters.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah. No, that’s so true. And I love what you said about the vacation piece, because I think so many entrepreneurs, especially, like they might be in the most beautiful tropical location, but they still will be checking their emails and responding. And someone had actually shared with me that for them, like success meant being able to go on vacation and not work and not worry about the fact that they’re not working like to fully enjoy being checked out.
And one thing that was actually quite funny was someone shared like some companies like if you do sign on internationally, depending on the type of company you are, it can create some issues from like legal and tax perspective, different VPN and all that stuff. So it was funny because that that entrepreneur shared that was the thing that helped them be like, okay, so legally I can’t actually work when I’m like in Europe. So it’s cool. Like, it’s totally fine like that’s ok.

Brandy Whalen:
To put that threat out there? Like, you’re going to be in trouble if you work!

Johanna Buchweitz:
It’s like you don’t have a work visa, you’re there for vacation. Nope, can’t sign on. It’s like, okay, all right, if you insist. It’s fine. I’ll take a week off.

Brandy Whalen:
I mean wherever you need to get there.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah.

Brandy Whalen:
You need to get there. That’s. It’s really –

Johanna Buchweitz:
No. 100%. So with everything that you’re doing, I think it’s so cool. I love, like, the journey that you’ve kind of been on from just starting your own company and focusing on PR to now Kit Caster, to being a mom of three. So what is like success actually mean to you today?

Brandy Whalen:
Hmm. Yeah, I actually just had a conversation about this with my nine year old actually, because he was like, what is success? And I was like, you know what? That is so different for everyone, but for me, I think that it is creating success to me is creating space to help and have purpose and meaning. And then and that can be in my career.
That can be at home. We also do a ton of volunteer work in the community. So I think that’s really important. It’s, it’s just like that’s the stuff that like fills me up. So success to me is getting to a place where you have space to be of service to it, to whomever.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I love that. That’s beautiful. And yeah, that’s – now words, great answer. I love that. So before you leave us today, could you share any parting words of wisdom that could fit on a tweet?

Brandy Whalen:
Oh, my goodness. Well, I think kind of going back to finding your life balance, whatever that is to you like that, you know, this predefined idea of what other people see as this balance in life is not going to necessarily work for you. So find your own life balance and adhere to it.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah, that’s a good one. Adhere to it. It’s very important too. That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Brandy, for coming on today.

Brandy Whalen:
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Johanna Buchweitz:
We hope you enjoyed hearing from the incredible Brandy Whalen. And if you did, please leave us a review on Apple, Spotify or wherever you tune in to listen. Please share this episode with anyone who you think might enjoy it. Thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode of Limitless. See you next week for a new episode.

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