“How to Become the Center of Influence Through Podcasting and Adulting in the Process” with Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik of Almost 30

Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik, Founders & Co-Hosts of Almost 30
Podcasting is amazing because it’s a medium that you can’t necessarily cheat the system or use money to your advantage. You can definitely use money to get you a great package, but the product is all about your personality, authenticity and consistency.

As part of my series of interviews about “How podcasters can become a center of influence”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik are Founders & Co-Hosts of Almost 30, a top-rated wellness & lifestyle podcast, brand, and community.

Hailed as “The Best Wellness Podcast to Listen to Right Now” by Coveteur and most recently nominated for Best Health Podcast by iHeart Podcast Awards, Krista and Lindsey have created an online and offline space where listeners can gather, relate and join them in navigating any transition into becoming their best selves. Think of them as your virtual best friends, who are there to listen, share, and learn right along with you.

Delving into themes such as wellness, entrepreneurship, spirituality, culture, self-development and so much more, Krista and Lindsey are known for having authentic conversations, diverse points of view and thought-provoking insights during their weekly interviews with fascinating guests. With over 200 episodes and over 12 million downloads, their global community and audience spans over 150 countries.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?

Krista: Lindsey and I met serendipitously through a friend in Los Angeles, when I was auditioning for SoulCycle and Lindsey was an instructor. I had a call with Lindsey to get advice and insight on the process, and although I didn’t get the role, Lindsey and I became fast friends.

Because I felt so called to doing SoulCycle and was heartbroken with the rejection (I got rejected twice) there was a lot of processing and conversation between Lindsey and I. Through various conversations about how the transition from your twenties to your thirties was much harder than people ever talked about, we decided to bring the conversation to a broader platform.

I’ve always loved podcasts, and for the past 6 years have been in love with the medium. The ability to be off your computer, not looking at a screen, and really getting to know someone through the long form medium was so attractive to me. Lindsey was a performer at heart and for years has been acting and modeling. So on a fateful day over a Bulletproof coffee we decided to make a podcast where we’d open up the conversation to talk about life transitions, and to support others through the process through insights rooted in optimism, growth and intention.

It wasn’t perfect from the beginning, but it has evolved in its podcasting format, cover art, introduction, topics…and now provides a space for people to evolve and grow within a welcoming community.

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?

Lindsey: A lot of people call this one interesting and scratch their heads when we tell them that within two and a half years, we have made Almost 30 our full time job and gone on tour (and just launched our second tour)! We could have never dreamed that we would not only host a podcast but develop the brand to be so much more than that.

Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Lindsey: As some of you might or might not know, Almost 30 was inspired by our transition from our 20’s to our 30’s. That’s the time when sh*t gets real and it’s time to figure out who you really are, what you are meant to do, who you are meant to be with, etc. We began recording conversations on our closet floors back in 2016. We thought that because we had a “show”, we had to have different segments as a part of the structure. “20’s Us, 30’s Us “was a segment during which we would share a funny habit, obsession or memory from our 20’s (tanning beds, anyone?) and share an aspect of our 30’s that we are looking forward to, unsure of, or afraid of (9pm bedtime, please). “Sh*t that Stuck” was a segment dedicated to lessons learned; whether it was last week, last year, or back in our 20’s, we reflected on valuable and oftentimes funny learnings that we apply to our lives today. We also asked, if not begged, our friends to call into the show so we could offer insight and advice on everything from dating to career to wellness advice. We wouldn’t be surprised if we told a friend to “dump him and drink green juice instead”. It was an awkward, but hilarious time when we had no idea what we were doing or what this idea would become.

We definitely don’t regret the ways in which we experimented with the structure of Almost 30 at the beginning. But what we would say to ourselves back then is “don’t try so hard to fit into a mold of what you think a show should be”. Being ourselves, sharing openly and honestly, would have been enough. It would have also served us to honor the awkward moments We still have them to this day as we expand more and more into our alignment.

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

Krista: In two and a half years, we have recorded over 200 shows! We now release two shows per week — every Tuesday and Thursday.

What are the main takeaways or lessons you want your listeners to walk away with?

Lindsey: We are not experts. Rather, we pride ourselves on learning in real time with our listeners. So, the number one takeaway would be that our listeners feel less alone. If you listen to Almost 30, you are a part of a community of human beings who are smart, curious, loving, supportive, and hoping to make a positive impact, all while openly and honestly figuring it all out. We hope that our community is empowered to be more of themselves in everything that they do and for everyone that they meet. The more we are ourselves on the podcast, admitting fears, mistakes, hilarious lessons learned, the more people engage saying that they’ve been there, or that they are relieved to know that there are others experiencing those things, too. The less we try to be who we are not, the more we can fully be who we really are. And finally, we want our listeners to laugh more. While we do cover serious topics at times, we also love to balance the show with lots of laughter. The kind of laughter that has the power to change your state. It has felt like laughter opens us up to see just how wild life is. There are serendipitous moments happening all the time.

You are a very successful podcaster. Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast? We would love to hear lessons from your experience about the best ways to: 1) book great guests; 2) increase listeners; 3) produce it in a professional way; 4) encourage engagement; and 5) best way to monetize it?

Podcaster Influencer, Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik of the Almost 30 Show shares the best ways to:
1) Book great guests-Booking great guests is all a numbers game! We have booked some of the biggest guests by simply reaching out, but most of our larger names have been booked by meeting the right people. As an example, we booked Matthew Lillard just by DM’ing him on Instagram. We told him our clear ‘why’ and gave specific clear reasons for our conversation. It’s all about finding the right fit and communicating to them the why in a clear way. Also, flattery goes a long way! :)
2) Increase listeners-What’s a show without listeners, right? It will be your job to promote your show and drive people to all of these platforms. Get creative, tap into your existing communities, ask friends and family to share, trust the power of word of mouth, and be consistent. Your show WILL grow. One of the ways that our show exploded was when one of our biggest guests shared on their socials driving traffic to the podcast and to our brand. Make it easy for people to share by providing them with assets and marketing collateral if you have a show with guests.
3) Produce it in a professional way — We have worked with a professional production team since the beginning. For us, investing in a great team to help us with sound and the technical part of the podcast is a no-brainer! You can find affordable help on UpWork or Fiverr as well!
4) Encourage Engagement — Engagement happens when you’re sharing a unique and authentic point of view. If what you are sharing is heartfelt and resonates with people, you will see engagement naturally. It’s important to focus on what you can do, which is create an amazing product rather than so much on the replies and the engagement from your audience. We now focus on the engagement in a really relaxed way, just being sure that we are happy with our overall product and the community is responding in a positive way. This is a mindset thing where you can’t get tripped up on comparison!
5) Best way to monetize — Podcasters can work to secure advertisers by first focusing on great content and growing your podcast before pitching brands and securing brand deals. They want to see that you have reach and staying power! In order to pitch brands to sponsor, you can use the templates we leverage here, and by describing in detail the way you’d help elevate their brand. Additionally, most podcasters need to use a media kit which shares about your podcast, audience and numbers (here is where you can get one yourself). It’s a lot of sales, relationship management and work for partnership like these but they are the best way to make your podcast a business. We monetized after 8 months of growth and work, and when we felt like we were proud of the show and what we produced. Don’t rush this since you may not get more than one chance with a brand to impress them.

From your vantage point what are some of the reasons why a person should consider creating a podcast series?

Krista: Podcasting is amazing because it’s a medium that you can’t necessarily cheat the system or use money to your advantage. You can definitely use money to get you a great package, but the product is all about your personality, authenticity and consistency.

If you are open to being your complete self, to asking the hard questions, finding an interesting angle or sharing the hard story, then it definitely is for you. Now that it is much more saturated, there is a need to find a unique perspective and work a little bit harder to cut through the noise of the industry and get noticed.

Nowadays it seems as if everyone is trying to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Are there people to whom you would advise to avoid podcasting and instead focus on another medium?

Lindsey: We are absolutely in love with the medium, and think that there is space and opportunity for all to create something they feel good about and really love. 2+ years ago when we started it wasn’t cool just yet, so it is amazing to think that it’s now being really recognized in the industry and outside of it.

Krista: Not to deter anyone from doing something they really love, but podcasting is way harder than people think. To create an amazing show, it’s much harder than just sitting down, talking and recording. Not only do you have to really put yourself out there and be unafraid of criticism and feedback, but you have to put in the work on a few fronts. To understand audio/technical parts of recording and distribution on your RSS feed, marketing and branding skills for getting your voice out there, consistency with the product, writing skills for your show notes and research for topics. I would have never thought that this thing that we started as a hobby could turn into a full time business that supports 5+ on our team.

How has your position as a podcast host and a person of high authority, impacted your business, sales, and/or increased your opportunities? Can you share a story with us?

Krista: The podcast has essentially given us a business and most of the opportunities that we currently have today. Prior to this, we both had careers that we felt lost in, and weren’t completely aligned to and when we found Almost 30 everything just started to click. Every cliche quote or saying applies here — it was fate.

We now have the opportunity to work with brands we love and respect, and when negotiating podcast sponsorship deals or tour partnerships it’s an amazing feeling to feel as if we have something really valuable to offer that people want their brands to be a part of.

What makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or the content itself?

Krista: Almost 30 is SO dynamic and our topics range is so wide. One day we are talking to a psychic medium about death and grief, and the next we are talking about health and wellness with industry experts. We believe that health and wellness is so much more than green juice and yoga pants, and our topics and guests are always evolving with feedback from our community.

We also keep everything super digestible and lighthearted, so it never feels like work to do the ‘work’ of personal development and growth. We always want to make things approachable and fun. We want to make sure that people know we aren’t the experts, just stewards along the journey!

We’ve heard so many times that people will start listening and then will go through all episodes up to the beginning two years ago! What’s special about Almost 30 is the heart, the authenticity and the vulnerability that we as hosts have, that we also try to bring out in our amazing guests.

Where can our readers find you on Social Media?

● Instagram: @Almost30Podcast

● Facebook: @Almost30Podcast

Some of the biggest names in Business, Marketing, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a specific high-value guest (obviously still living) that you would love to interview on your show, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them!

There are quite a few! It’s a very diverse list of people who we seriously respect and appreciate. Donald Glover; Lady Gaga; Issa Rae; Russell Brand; Dolly Parton; Jameela Jamil; Jonathan Van Ness; Michelle Obama; and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.