Home Audio Transcription How to Launch a Successful Podcast With Sydnee Mack, Esq.

How to Launch a Successful Podcast With Sydnee Mack, Esq.

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Welcome to another episode of Launched & Legal with Dayna Thomas, Esq., entrepreneurship attorney and law firm coach. Launched & Legal is an Atlanta Small Business Network original series dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for strategizing, legalizing, and monetizing their ventures. Today, Dayna is joined by Sydnee Mack, Esq., attorney, professor, and the founder/host of The Sugar Free Podcast.

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Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Hi everyone. I’m Dayna Thomas Esq., and welcome to Launched and Legal, where it’s my mission to help you strategize, legalize and monetize your business. I’m so excited that you’re watching because today and in every show, I’ll be sharing my best practices and tips to take your business and brand to the next level. So on Launch and Legal, I love educating and inspiring you to build the business of your dreams. As a part of that inspiration is sharing the stories of entrepreneurs and the steps they took to build their business and brand. Entrepreneurship comes in many forms from selling a product to offering a service, or even starting a podcast.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Today’s guest, Sydnee Mack Esquire is an attorney, professor and podcast host. She started her own podcast, which is quickly generating a buzz. Starting a podcast can also be a great way to bring attention to other products and services that you offer. I’m so excited to have Sydnee on today’s show to share her story and some of the steps she took to launch The Sugar Free Podcast. Hey, Sydnee.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Hey Dayna. How are you?

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I am good. It’s so good to see your beautiful face. Thank you so much for joining us on today’s show.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
It’s good to be seen.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. So, from our previous conversations, I’m obsessed with your podcast story because you are such a natural. I am really a fan. Not only your friend and colleague, but I’m definitely a fan of your podcast. And I’ve been able to see some of the background work that you had to do in order to bring it to life. And it definitely was not an easy feat, but you were really shining in that arena. So I know that a lot of entrepreneurs or people in general want to start a podcast and even wondering how to do it. So I really wanted to highlight you and just the wonders that you’re doing in that space and really reveal a little bit about how it’s done. So tell us a little bit first about your background and how you came to the idea of starting a podcast.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Yeah. Well, first of all, I’m so glad that you’re a fan of the show and that you enjoy it because you’re actually part of my target demographic. So I’m glad that my content is landing exactly where it’s supposed to.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It is. It is.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
So, as you mentioned, I’m an attorney by trade, but I actually started my career in communications. And so my undergraduate degree is in public relations and communications, and I’ve always had an interest in communicating. And so I got into the legal profession thinking that this would be an avenue for me to be able to do that, and there isn’t as much talking, I feel like, in lawyering as you might think, if you’re not a trial lawyer, and I’m not a trial attorney. So there weren’t as many opportunities for me to share what I think are some of my greatest gifts, which is speaking, communicating, and telling really fantastic stories.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And so I started my podcast to do that, and that’s actually why I started teaching as well, because it’s like another stage for me. And I get every week to perform every week in front of my students. And so it’s kind of like a warmup, but my podcast is my opportunity to bring my gifts to the world in a way that feels authentic and that’s not relegated or regulated by anything other than me and Jesus and my mama.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I just love that. It’s true because a lot of times we talk about our journey up to being an attorney, but your journey up to being a podcast host really didn’t have much to do with that at all. It was everything that you were doing from a child to the singing and the contest and things. So it’s really beautiful to see how it all comes together, and your podcast is just, I think is just blowing up, because it really is a gift that you have. So tell us more about the goal of your podcast and the topics that you discuss.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Yeah. So, I have been playing around, and Dayna knows this. We talked about this for years, about how to connect with people that are peers outside of the legal profession, because I think that something that people really miss when you become a certain professional like a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, an entrepreneur, is that you are so much more than your profession. So my goal has been to speak to other women who are like me that are ambitious, that are goal-oriented and driven, and just having real honest conversations about how we get through life.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. You know what? I feel like people are getting a sneak peek of your personality, because I’m really laughing, because you’re so funny. And that really translates to what it’s like on the podcast, which is why I love listening to it because you make light of certain topics, but not in a disrespectful way, but in a way that really is engaging to people, right, which makes us want to lean in and really pay attention to these topics that normally don’t get enough attention, but that you’re bringing attention to on The Sugar Free Podcast. So I also do want to know, being an attorney, especially in corporate, right, can be a conservative career. So how has that influenced how you share about certain personal topics on the podcast?

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Honestly, for the personal topics, not a ton just because I personally think that, and not everybody feels this way, but I personally feel like, like I said before, I’m a person. Like, yes, I’m an attorney, but that is such a… That’s not who I am.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
I don’t think that what I do should have so much of a bearing on who I get to be and how I show up in the world when I’m not at work. You can be a lawyer and have daddy issues and not have your finances together and date toxic men. You can do all of that and be the same human being. And so when it comes to personal topics, I don’t really shy away, but I do take my profession very seriously. And so I am very cautious about the things that I share from a professional standpoint, because I do take my career and my profession very seriously. But from a personal standpoint, I’m just me.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I love that you’re sharing that perspective because I know that there are a lot of people who work full-time jobs. Maybe they’re in corporate, but there’s something that they’re really passionate about that is nothing like what people know them for. And so they second guess whether they should keep it private, whether they should really pursue this thing, whatever it may be. And a lot of times it holds them back because the world doesn’t know them in that way, right, but a lot of times it can be really freeing. So, as an entrepreneur or a person that just has different passions, I think it’s really important to explore different things, and don’t be boxed in just like how you said, so.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Well, can I add to that too?

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Sure.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
So I do understand a lot of people’s hesitation with sharing in general just because people are getting canceled in 2022. Okay. Like you, because of the things that you believe in or how you feel can have negative impacts and consequences on the way other people perceive you and potentially your livelihood. So I do understand there being a hesitation. But I think for me personally, I’ve spent a lot of time in corporate America and then also on the artistic side of thing that I’ve kind of developed an internal litmus test of what not to do and what’s too far.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And so I think that until you’ve developed that internal system; a checks and balances system, I think it’s a good best practice to run things by other people before you broadcast them to the world, because we still want to keep our jobs. We still want to keep [inaudible 00:08:37]. I want you to be you. But if who you are is a little questionable, then I don’t want who you are to disqualify you from future opportunities or your job. So I think a best practice A is don’t do anything live.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s true.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Do everything that is editable and you can edit out.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right. That’s great advice. Thank you for that.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And I edit. I edit all of my episodes, not just for myself, but for my guests as well. If they say something that I think is not going to portray them in the best light, I edit it out for them. I’m covering y’all. Right. And so either A, you have the ability to edit out and B, run it by somebody.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I think I love that advice. And you know what else I love along with that? I love the name, The Sugar Free Podcast. And we had talked about it before; some of the potential names, and you came up with that name; The Sugar Free Podcast, which I absolutely love. And I think it goes really well with what you talk about. So tell us a little bit, how did you start with, or how did you come up with the name and what does it mean to you in the show?

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
So I actually did not come up with the name.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
My mama came up with the name.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Kudos to mom.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Yeah. And so part of my creative process and everybody is creative. Let’s start there. Right. Everybody is creative in their zone of genius.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And I know some people say, oh, I’m not creative. That’s not my ministry. You are. You just have to figure out your lane of genius and operate in that lane.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And so a big part of my creative process is collaboration. Just during a conversation I had with my mom, we were going back and forth about some ideas. And she was like, sugar free. And I was like, okay, okay. And as soon as she said it, I’m also very visual in my creative process. So as soon as she said it, I got a visual for what I wanted to look like. And so I designed the logo for the show. I do all the branding, all of the flyers, all the thumbnail art, all of that. I designed it myself.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And so as soon as she said that, I had the picture for it. And when she said it, I knew exactly what she meant by it, which was having conversations that are sugar free or without filtering, without sugar coating, without any additives. Right?

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
The real deal.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Right. Just 100% raw unfiltered. And that’s exactly what I want for the show is I want for people to feel like this is a space where they can be vulnerable and they can be open and they can share their testimonies in efforts of helping themselves first. I would say the show is for me. Before it’s for anybody else, my guests come on so they can come fix my life first. So you coming for you first and then for somebody else who may share your journey, who can benefit from your testimony. And so that requires the space that we’re in to be safe. So that requires vulnerability, transparency, openness for my guests and from me too.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s right. And doing that sugar free. What’s the tagline for the podcast?

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Yes. Plenty of tea that’s 100% sugar free.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Sugar free. I love that. So speaking of, so we got into a little bit about the branding. So the show is Launched and Legal, Sydnee is talking about her launch and I’m going to add a little bit of that legal. So she mentioned a few concepts about the names, she came up with the name, of course, if you watched Launched and Legal, you know that I advise getting a trademark for anything that represents your brand. And that’s exactly what Sydnee has done, which is fantastic. So your trademark will make sure that you, or help you to exclusively own the rights to use that name or logo, whatever the mark may be in connection with the product or service that you include in your application, as well as related products or services.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So it’s super important and great that Sydnee is in that process because we don’t want her or anyone else to start using a name that is not protected, and then someone else gets a trademark for it first and now Sydnee or whoever that person may be has to rebrand. We don’t want to do that. So kudos to you, Sydnee, of course, as an attorney in this space, you know to do that. But there’s so many people that don’t know to do that. And so yes, as attorneys, we do practice what we preach because it’s so important. The other thing that you mentioned that I want to highlight is that you created your own logo, which is super cool.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So we know not everyone can do that, but what you have learned by watching Launched and Legal, and if you have not, go back to the former episodes, but when it comes to owning your logo, whoever creates it, owns it. So, good for you, Sydnee, that you created it because you own the copyright to that logo. But for many of you who may be watching, if you have a logo, but you have not created it yourself, then you do not own the copyright to that logo unless certain instances apply. Unless you, for example, have a copyright assignment agreement or some type of work for a higher agreement, that transfers ownership from that logo to you.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So it cannot be done verbally. It has to be done in agreement unless you have created yourself, which Sydnee has done. So Sydnee kudos to you for owning your intellectual property. That’s a huge thing as it relates to business. So it’s fun to talk about the process in coming up with the brand, but we also have to make sure that we are protecting it. So I want to ask this, let’s say someone watching the show wants to start a podcast, right? What are some of the steps that they need to take to really get it going?

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Well, I think the first step is decide that you’re committed to it because…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s a really good one.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
A lot of people want to start a podcast, especially since I decided I wanted to start one. I think when you decide you want to do something, a lot of the first steps that people take is seeking out other people who are doing the thing that you’re doing, or seeking out resources or starting to just figure out the space and what it is all in the space. And so as I started to just figure out what all was in the space, you quickly come to realize that, so this statistic is, I think something crazy, like 60 or 70% of all podcasts fail before the seventh episode.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow. I wouldn’t doubt it. It’s hard to [crosstalk 00:15:08]. Yeah.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And that’s because, yeah, it’s hard to keep up with, it’s because people say, oh, this is something I want to do, and not recognizing all the commitment that is required to keep it going. And by about episode five or six, you’re like, this really ain’t my ministry. It ain’t really that worth it. I’m going to be done with it. And I can relate to that. So for this particular venture, I’ve been committed, but there have been many others in my life where I have started blogs. I have wanted to do cooking, right? And so you get me deep in it, and then you’re like, this isn’t something that’s sustainable for me.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
So first figuring out how committed you are and then how much you want to invest based on your level of commitment. So with podcasting, you can have as many or as little barriers to entry as you want. So they have all different kinds of platforms for the novice podcaster, all the way up to like the breakfast club, which is a podcast, right. Which is super professional, nationally syndicated, former radio show. And so there are platforms like Anchor, which is owned by Spotify, where all you need to get started is your phone. And so they have tools right within their app that allow you to record your episode from your phone. And then if you want to invest more, you can invest in your own custom song. And like, I sang my own theme song, but I hired a producer to-

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Which I love, by the way.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Hey, I love this song too. But you got to decide, luckily I could sing the song and I wrote the song. But hiring a producer was expensive. So I was like, okay, if I do half, you can do half. I can afford that. And part of the reason why I designed my logo is because at the time I didn’t know how much financially I could invest in it. And so, the more that you can do on your own, then the less money you have to invest in it. But as you are determining your level of commitment, really decide how much of a financial investment and commitment you want to make, then you can always level up as you go. And so don’t use those higher barriers to entry, like having a quality mic or having a perfect logo preclude you from getting into the space. Do not let them keep you out. Right?

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Even Apple’s logo isn’t the same. If you look at major companies like Apple and Nike and things like that, their logo is not the same when they first started. So you just can’t let that hold you back.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Yeah. No. And as your commitment grows, as your following grows, as your coins grow, then you invest in a microphone and you invest in a professionally designed logo if that’s what you desire. You invest in a greater quality camera. Right?

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. And you know what, that advice goes well beyond just podcasting. One of my keys to entrepreneurship is keeping your expenses low. Like you said, barriers to entry. Sometimes we feel like we can’t do something that we really want to do because it costs so much money. We all start small. Everyone starts small from somewhere. So don’t let that be a hindrance to you doing something that you really want to do. You have to look within yourself first to see if you’re committed and if this is something that you really can do, want to do, and you’re going to continue doing.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
If you’re committed, then you’ll be committed to figuring the rest out. I ain’t got to tell you-

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Just like how you did. Just like how you did.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Exactly. I went to Google university, I went to YouTube university.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s right.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
No joke, because I was committed to figuring out the information and there’s tons of free information and resources out there for you that I don’t feel like that would be the best use of my time to tell you, if you’re committed, you’ll find them.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I think that’s great advice. And even watching the show was one of those resources that you can use to help give you advice on how to do something that you want to do in business. So also Sydnee, as a show host myself, I know that consistently releasing a new episode regularly for your podcast takes discipline and organization. So how have you been able to manage your full-time career, being an attorney and professor, right, and being consistent with your podcast?

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Well, my commitment game is real strong, Dayna, let’s start there. And I’m being honest about that, this has been a dream of mine for a long time that I’m really committed to this, to the point that I have been willing to sacrifice lots of things in order to be able to balance being a professor full-time, being an attorney part-time, and a podcast show host part-time, right? And a dog mom, all that, right? To be able to do the things I have to do, I have sacrificed a lot. And what’s most important to me has been the show and paying my bills and the things that I have to do. And so I have committed to that to the detriment of lots of other things in my life. And so you just have to decide, everything good in this world requires some level of sacrifice and you got to figure out what it’s worth to you.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. And that goes along the lines with this question that I want to ask, because I know that there are a lot of people, people I know personally, a lot of folks that are students in my course, right, and a lot of clients that I have that have a full time job, but they want to do something else. They want to pursue something else, whether it’s on the side or transition into it. So it could be something major. It could be a business, it could be a passion project or even a podcast. So what advice do you have for people who do have that full-time job that takes a lot of their time, takes a lot of their energy, but they want to do something else, like a podcast like you did?

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Yeah. First of all, I feel you. I feel you. Let me just tell you that I feel exactly where you are. And then the second is figuring out how much time you need to dedicate to each of those activities in order for you to deliver the quality of product that you desire. Right?. Because there have been times, like, I’m not going to say that you haven’t sat at your desk and phoned it in some days, right, because that’s all you can give in terms of quality and attention on that day. Right? And so you have to decide what level of attention is required for each activity every day and every week.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
And so paying my bills is always super important to me. So the time that I dedicate to an employer that we have agreed upon, whether that be from 9:00 to 5:00, 10:00 to 4:00, whatever, I give them that. Right? That’s their time. So there are going to be certain blocks of your day that are non-negotiable. But the thing that I don’t negotiate is that unless the building’s on fire, when my time is up, I’m done. And it’s not that I’m not committed, it’s I have other commitments, right? I am giving you-

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s discipline.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
What I, right, contractually obligated. And I make that clear, especially being a professor, I have obligations as a professor and I make that clear before I accept an engagement for work. That is an important engagement to me, that is an important thing. I have class on these days, I cannot be available. And if that’s not okay, then I cannot work here. And I have turned down some pretty amazing opportunities because they did not align with my other commitments. So the things that are non-negotiable in my day, block those times out, and then the rest of that time is my free time. And how I spend my free time, right now is with the Sugar Free Podcast. Every Sunday is my podcast day without fail. My episodes launch every Monday. Every Sunday from about 9:00 to 5:00, I’m podcasting. Every Sunday. That’s my time. And that’s what I’ve dedicated and committed to it because based on my current schedule, that’s what works for me. And so once you figure out where those times are, commit to it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s amazing. One of the first things that you mentioned in that response was decisions. You kept saying the word decision, decision. And I love that because I really believe that entrepreneurship, starting a business, passion projects, doing anything that is fulfilling to you is a series of decisions. And these are going to be hard decisions. It’s not going to be easy decisions. It’s a decision, should I sleep? Or should I work on my podcast or my blog or my business that I’m trying to start. It’s a series of decisions, right? So if you’re not willing to make the decisions, then you might be unhappy, right, in the place that you are, especially if you want to be somewhere else.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
But I want to encourage you, whoever’s watching to make those hard decisions that it takes, because if you’re to something, it is going to take a series of decisions. And that those decision making processes won’t stop. It’s constantly decisions, constantly commitment. So thank you, Sydnee for tapping into that. And I know that we’ll have many, many new viewers and listeners to the Sugar Free Podcast. So how can viewers check out the Sugar Free Podcast and keep up with the latest episodes and releases?

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Yeah. So first, thank you for having me, Dayna. Hopefully everyone watching Launched and Legal, enjoyed it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah, I did.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Enjoy watching. And if you want to keep the tea party going, which is how I phrase it, you can lock into the Sugar Free Podcast or tune in everywhere podcasts are available. So if you get your podcasts on Apple, Pandora, Stitcher, Google, Audible, we’re there. You can also check us out on our website at www.sugarfreepodcast.com. We’re on Instagram @sugarfreepodcast, on Facebook @sugarfreepod, on Twitter @sugarfreepod. And then also on YouTube at Sugar Free Podcast.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I love it. The consistent branding, the consistent branding. I love it. Thank you, Sydnee. It has been really a pleasure having you on the show, hearing more about your story and how it all fits together and just the inspiration that it provides to myself as well as the viewers that we have. So thank you so much.

Sydnee Mack, Esq.:
Thank you.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome. Well, I hope today’s show helped to educate and inspire you as you pursue your business goals. Be sure to share today’s show with someone who can benefit and visit myasbn.com and subscribe. If you have any questions or comments about today’s show, I would love to hear from you. Send me a message or comment on Instagram @daynathomaslaw. Remember to tune in next week and every week to make sure your business is Launched and Legal.


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