501 | My Podcast Evolution & Lessons Learned

Podcast episode artwork Today I'm going to share how the evolution of my own perfect self-expression has evolved over the five and a half years since starting a podcast. I really want to debunk the myth that you have to get it perfectly right the first time, and you should never have to rename your podcast, and all of these other thoughts that may pop into your head if you’re thinking about starting something new. No. You start, you evolve, you perfect, and then you continue to evolve. We're never done. I hope that it inspires you in the next evolution in what you are here to say, or maybe it sparks an evolution for you on your perfect self-expression. Maybe that’s starting a podcast, a blog, a newsletter, or some kind of platform where you can share what you are meant to share with the world.

Before we jump in. I wanted to remind you that I'm running a live masterclass this week of January 29, 2024. If you’re reading this in real time, this is your last opportunity to jump into a free seat, a complimentary ticket, to join us in what I do for my clients.

Join us here!

The masterclass is on thought leadership using your Human Design to uncover your own perfect self-expression. It is going to be a must not miss. I will be recording the masterclasses if you can’t make it live, but you need to register to get them! See it as a free trial of what it is like to be inside of my group program.

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Listen to the Corresponding Podcast Episode:

The Start of My Podcast Journey – Picking a Niche

Five and a half years ago when I went to start my podcast, I was actually still working at IBM, but I literally left IBM right when the podcast launched. In the creation of the podcast, I was all over the place. At that time I still had a brick and mortar boutique, which was my first business, that I was still running. At the same time, I was a vice president at IBM in marketing and I was getting my Life Coach Certification from The Life Coach School. Talk about juggling! I was also studying so many books and courses, and trying to learn from people like James Wedmore and other people that went before me in creating their online businesses.

I kept hearing that I needed to be in a blue ocean and to pick my niche where no one else was, and all of these things. I just felt this pressure to choose a coaching niche that was so unique and so different. I wasn't really sure how that was going to play out. I believe that your niche is an evolution. It is testing and evolving. It's not for most people. It's not a one and done like this is my niche and I'm sticking to it. Often, we end up evolving our niche as we evolve, which is exactly how I've evolved the podcast and my business. It's through my own evolution of uncovering what I'm here to do in the world. It’s a process. It’s not something that you know right away, and I definitely didn’t know that five years ago when I started my business and podcast.

When I first picked a niche, I decided that I was going to help women who were moms and either getting divorced or divorced, who wanted to really be able to co-parent with their children's dad and to create a family even though it wasn't a traditional family. I was very passionate about it. I'm still very passionate about it. I had a very strong point of view and opinions on things like being divorced meant they were from a broken home, and how my family was a hundred percent not that. That didn't just happen. That was by design. So, this whole “by design,” which I still talk about all the time, has been a part of my message for five and a half years.

I love the famous Steve Jobs quote, “You can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking back.” What’s fascinating is that in looking back on my own journey, I can see that I had a thread of continuity that went throughout everything because it was my core message. It was my perfect self-expression. It has always been “live by design, not by default.” You have a choice. You get to decide that life isn't happening to you, it's happening for you, and that is a frame of mind. That has always been a common thread through for me, but when I first started and given that advice to really pick a blue ocean, I wanted to help women create the most incredible families even after divorce. Therefore, the name of my podcast when it first came out was Divorced Mommy.

Divorced Mommy

Woman excitedly working at computer Yep, Divorced Mommy. It was interesting because when I look back, it was sort of genius to have the advice to have the blue ocean because it landed me on some big podcasts very early on. If I had been broad and my podcast was something like The Abundant Life with Julie Ciardi, I would not have been asked to be a guest on the podcasts that I was on. I was on Boss Moms, I was on, She Did It Her Way, I was on Mommy Millionaire, and a few different types of podcasts that I probably wouldn't have gotten onto as being such a newbie to the space without it being so niched. People loved it. I remember the host of Boss Moms was like, “oh, I really want to have this topic on. We really haven't talked about this,” and so that really helped me to start to get some visibility and to start to land myself on other podcasts.

I also got some pretty cool guests on my podcast because they came to talk about either coming from a divorced family, or they were coming on to talk about how they're doing it their way after divorce. It was really powerful. However, I quickly started to discover something. I would have people say to me that they loved my podcast so much, but they had to listen to it with their phone facing down. When I would ask them why, they said it was because they were happily married and they didn’t want their husbands to see it and think they wanted a divorce.

What was happening is because I was sharing so many incredible mindset episodes, and it was all about designing your life and making these choices, that what happened is that it actually was really attracting a lot of my sliver of humanity who really wanted to listen to it. But, the title Divorce Mommy didn't resonate. So guess what? They're not going to share it with other people. I mean, for goodness sake, they're not going to share a podcast called Divorce Mommy when they're happily married. It lead me to very quickly pivot in the first six months. I still recorded episodes every single week. Every single week for five and a half years. I have never missed a week, and I changed the name to More Than Mommy.

More Than Mommy

woman sitting in a chair by a window reading a book That was the next evolution, which made sense because guess what? We co-create with our tribe. I was having listeners reach out and they were telling me they were happily married, but they loved what I had to say. I always co-create. I listen to the people that really resonate with what I have to say, and then we co-create based on that.

In fact, it is why even now, five and a half years later, bringing in Human Design and Gene Keys into the mix, it is co-creating with my clients. My clients who craved this and didn't even know that this is what they were craving, who are obsessed like me, who are nerds like me, who are studying themselves at the deepest possible levels so that they can become their full potential and do the work they're meant to do in the world. It's so powerful. So, More than Mommy starts to take hold, and it was great! More than Mommy was wonderful, but it was still missing the mark on where ultimately I was going to go.

Right around the time of More Than Mommy is when I started to actually work one-on-one with clients. In working one-on-one with clients, I worked with some people that had challenges in their relationships, I was working with other people who really wanted to grow their businesses, I was working with some women who wanted to learn how to co-parent better. It was a real mix of who I was life coaching. As I started to observe what lit me up and what took my energy out of me, I realized that I absolutely loved helping women with doing the work that they love. Helping them to build their own businesses, so that they could do work that they loved. That is when everything really pivoted and kind of more solidified that that was my lane.

My lane was to help women do work they love. Now, here we are five years later, this was five years ago, right about now that I made that shift to More Than Mommy and started to work with my one-on-one clients and realize this is my calling. I'm still doing that today. Now, the flavor of it has evolved for certain, my messaging has evolved, the tools that I use, all of that has evolved. But, for five years, my mission, my life's work has been all about helping women do work that they love. The work that they were divinely designed to do. When I made that shift, that's when everything really in a beautiful way kind of began to grow. Now, five years ago, that was 2019, and let me tell you, that was my hardest year in business. I knew the lane that I wanted to go in, but I had a lot of confusion.

I didn't have a lot of clear strategy. I was really all over the place. I wasn’t sure what I was going to teach or what aspect of business I was helping people with. For an entire year, I really didn't make a lot of money. I was really struggling with if I had to go back to a corporate job. There was NO WAY that was happening. I was on this pursuit to figure out how to really get a breakthrough in my business now that I knew that I was going to be helping women create their own businesses and doing work that they loved. That was all of 2019. More Than Mommy was the name of the podcast for that entire year. Actually that's the longest I think I've gone with a podcast name.

IGNITE Hustle

Then in 2020, I started to work with Kelly Roach. I joined her program to really solidify my offers and to learn how to live launch. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I really rebranded and focused in on IGNITE Your Side Hustle. Then, we shifted it to IGNITE Hustle. That was in an era for me of helping women to take their side gigs, their side hustles, and make it their main gig, make it their main source of income. That is when my first program launched. It was called IGNITE University, and it was like everything started to solidify around using the branding of IGNITE, which we still use.

We say IGNITE Her. IGNITE is a huge part of my brand, and it still is even four years later. But, there has still been a lot of evolution because the whole message around IGNITE Your Side Hustle and IGNITE Hustle of making your side gig your main gig really attracted a lot of network marketers. There's nothing wrong with that. I love network marketing. I think it's a fantastic business model. It’s not done well and not taught well, that's a whole other thing, but it's a beautiful business model. What I found was that I was attracting a lot of people that were on their third or fourth network marketing company, and they were in this desperate place of wanting an escape plan from a job or career they didn't love, which was a lot of my story.

In sharing my story at the level and way I was sharing it, I was attracting a lot of people that were just wanting a fast solution to escaping their current situation. Now, that's not everyone I attracted. I still have some of my clients that came to me in 2020 who are still with me today, four years later, which I love. We call them the OGs. They are incredible. They're my people. They're my people who have been on this journey and this evolution. But, I noticed that I wasn't landing on the kind of podcasts I wanted to land on, and I really didn't love going into the deep, deep how to on social media marketing, and how to do Instagram and all of those things, which a lot of people were looking to me to help with. That's not where my zone of genius is.

My zone of genius is helping successful, ambitious women get clarity on their next step. Whether that's clarity in the next step in their business, clarity in the next step in their career, clarity in rebranding, or clarity in what they're meant to be saying out in the world, I'm here to help women know themselves better to go in versus seek out. In learning this about myself, I knew that I needed to continue to evolve.

The podcast continued to evolve as I continued to evolve my message and who I am meant to work with. Who I am designed to work with. It's been such a fun trip because during this time of IGNITE Hustle, I started to work with Bob Proctor. I started to know that I really wanted to do more of the inner work with women, so that they could do the work that they love.

IGNITE Her Mind

I got certified as a Proctor Gallagher consultant in Bob Proctor's methodologies, and the podcast name switched to IGNITE Her Mind. It just aligned so nicely because now it was all about if you want the business or career that you love, it’s an inside job. The podcast really evolved to go so much deeper on the inside job. Then, if you fast forward into 2022 and going into 2023, I started to notice a huge situation. Everyone could learn the concepts of things like the Knowing Doing Gap, that you can't outperform your self image, or that you've got to push through the terror barrier to break through, and that we've got these paradigms that are holding us back. These were all the things that Bob Proctor would teach, and I would bring that to my clients. I would bring concepts from the Life Coach School, like the manual in relationships and calendar integrity and all of these other things.

These were just all concepts. Some people could execute on them or see changes leveraging them and others would struggle. I started to notice that we're so unique. We're so unique from the inside out. We all have very unique paradigms. We have very unique situations when it comes to our self-image, confidence, fear, and doubt.. At the same time, we are also extremely unique on the positive side. On the gifts that we have, on the genius that we have , and on what we're meant to do in the world.

That is when Human Design and the Gene Keys came in. I really believe that when the student is ready, the tool will appear. When the teacher is ready, the tool will appear. When Human Design and Gene Keys came into my world, I knew I could take my people even deeper and uncover their own purpose and their own root cause of doubt, their own root cause of fear, and be able to see themselves in a whole other way.

In IGNITE Her Mind, the word mind and mindset really started to become a problem for me in being able to use that because our design is so much more than our mind. I had to really think about rebranding the podcast in a way that really made sense.

BRAND

woman sitting at table reading notes The reason that I came up with the word BRAND is because you are your brand. I am my brand. We are the niche. We have to step fully into our brand, our personal brand, who we be, our divine design. Richard Rudd, the creator of the Gene Keys calls the main core component of your Gene Keys, your brand. It's called your Life's Work. It’s your brand. In Human Design, your brand is who you be. Just be what your design is. That's why I transitioned the name of the podcast to BRAND.

I'm excited because I really want to continue to evolve the value that my podcast can create for my listeners. For you as readers. One of the things that I am going to be doing is I want to bring on successful female entrepreneurs doing things her way, that's unique for her. I want to have people share their story of creating their business, building their brand, and giving tips around the inner process required to create a successful business. Then what I'm going to do is I'm going to take their design, their Human Design, and I'm going to do a follow up episode, just me solo, sharing with you their design, so that you can see how that comes through in the interview that I had just done. It's kind of like a way to learn Human Design and kind of see how someone's perfect self-expression can be seen in their Human Design. I’m so excited!

As a final reminder, if you want to continue your own evolution of your perfect self-expression, please join me with a complimentary pass to the masterclass I'm running for my clients this week, Designed to Lead!

Grab your spot: www.julieciardi.com/lead

I promise you, it is going to change the way you look at yourself, what you're here to say, who you're here to be, and how you are here to do the work you love and the work you're meant to do in the world.

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I’m Julie Ciardi!

I am a former Fortune 50 executive (20 years in the corporate world!) and I finally answered my soul’s calling and started my own business in 2017. I am a mom of 3 and married to a retired first responder. I am on a mission to help women create income aligned with their life’s work. I would love to help YOU.