We’re coming up on the fourth anniversary of the first ever WeMartians episode. Since then, we’ve interviewed astronauts, watched spacecraft leave Earth, and met the NASA Administrator. We’ve built studios together and partnered with my friend Anthony to create the Off-Nominal podcast. Growing this hobby into what it is today has been a wild ride, and I have so many ideas to make it bigger, better and more interesting. But balancing continued growth of this hobby alongside a regular career is extremely challenging.
If it remains a hobby.
The bottleneck to a bigger and better WeMartians has almost always been time. I’ve done interviews at 5AM (including one just this morning!) just to squeeze it in before work. I’ve locked myself in my studio through entire weekends processing audio, and used vacation time in order to travel to conferences and launches. It’s been possible, but not easy. The threat of burnout has been nipping at my heels for probably years now.
I’ve done a lot of soul-searching these past few months, and it became increasingly clear that something had to give. My life could not continue doing both the podcast and my day job, and so I made a terrifying, crazy decision.
I left my job.
A Career Change
For the past 11 years I have been working for the electronics retailer Best Buy, most recently as a manager for a small team that operationalized their quirky services division (Geek Squad) for the Canadian markets. At Best Buy I had a remarkable and fulfilling career that has given me a tremendous amount of confidence and a skillset that I think will be invaluable as I look to make this podcast into a real business. They have great people, and they made me a great person, too.
With Best Buy behind me, I went looking for work with two distinct characteristics. I want to keep building skills that will help me make a better product here at WeMartians, and I want a job that I can do flexibly. I want to set my own hours and do the work from home or wherever I happen to be. For me, that job is web development. And so starting in January I’m off to top up my education, skill up in the workforce, and start building a freelancing career, of which this podcast will play a prime role.
It’s tremendously exciting for me, if a little scary. But just like in space, nothing extraordinary was ever achieved without a little risk.
What does this mean for the show?
For now, expect very little change. We’ll still be publishing WeMartians (roughly) every three weeks and our Red Planet Review show every week. But you might notice some dodgy consistency in the days and times as I work to build a whole new career from scratch.
Finances will also be tight for me in the short term (but don’t worry, you can help – see below). So some immediate impacts that long time listeners will notice will be a reduction in travel (no LPSC for me this year), as well as no WeMartians Travel Grant awarded in 2020. These are tough sacrifices for me, but I see them as essential for the long-term future.
Hopefully by the summer things will start to get back to normal, and then the real work can begin.
How can the listeners help?
WeMartians is a listener-funded project, for which I am eternally grateful. Now more than ever, I will depend on that funding; in fact, starting in just a couple of weeks, money I earn through the Podcast will literally be my only income.
And so to celebrate this exciting milestone for me (and to help plug some of the holes in my balance sheet!), I’ve set up some limited time offers for listeners to join in and invest in this show.
Over on Patreon, I’ve set up some new exciting milestones for patrons and listeners if we reach certain goals over the next year. This time, the goals are focused around rewards for you. If we reach certain quantities of supporters, I’ll be creating bonus content for everyone to enjoy. From a video tour of the Off-Nominal Studio to audio documentaries on rockets and Mars missions, there are some cool stuff in there! You can read about them on our Patreon page.
Patreon Special Offer
If the goals don’t excite you, I’m also sweetening the deal for anyone new who signs up on Patreon as well as anyone who upgrades their pledges. For a limited time (until January 3rd), you’ll get a bonus perk for joining up or upgrading your pledge to the $5 level: a handwritten postcard from me, including a shoddily drawn Mars spacecraft and some WeMartians and Off-Nominal Stickers!
We’re also hosting a great sale in our newly redesigned shop this month. The Black Friday Sale is winding down tonight, but starting now you’ll get access to a whole new offer – free shipping anywhere on Earth if you buy any two items! Just use the promo code GOINGPRO.
I’m broke but I still want to help!
No problem. There’s actually something amazing you can do if Patreon or a purchase in our shop doesn’t float your boat. Tell a friend about us!
Most podcasts spread through word of mouth and exposure on other podcasts. Consider writing a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your show. Post your favourite episode on Facebook or Twitter. Or, seriously, just tell a friend you think might like us. It goes a long way in building the listener base.
This is just the beginning
WeMartians & Off-Nominal are the most fulfilling and incredible projects I’ve ever done. Thousands of you now tune in for each episode, something I am incredibly grateful for. I am so excited to step in to this new future together, and I hope you’ll all come along for the ride.