The Loss of Podcast Editing Jobs: When will it recover?

loss of podcast editing jobs march 2020

These are crazy times.

I worry about you, my fellow podcast editor, because everyone is going to feel a financial or economic pinch this year.

I hate speaking in absolutes, but there is no way around it. Everyone is going to experience some kind of loss in 2020.

You may be sitting there thinking, “No duh Steve. Tell me about it. We just lost half our income because they closed my spouses restaurant/store/event“.

Ugh. That just breaks my heart. There is nothing wrong with those stores or services.

The problem is we have to isolate ourselves from for a least a few weeks because of this crazy pandemic. (I suspect longer, but the major push for everyone to stay put here in my area is May 3rd).

The good news is editing podcasts for others doesn’t need to stop.

Let me remind you: There is no thing wrong with the services you provide your clients.

So why is the work stopping?

It’s because this time is different

I hate that phrase, but this time it is true.

This time is different from the major events in the recent past:

  • 9-11 really only impacted the United States and overseas tourism
  • The Great Recession greatly impacted the construction and financial sectors while slowing down other companies
  • The Australian Bush Fires impacted a whole continent!

But this time it’s different. This is a global event.

For the first time in history, the entire world is working towards the same goal: To stop the spread so they can have the capacity to help those who get infected.

I kind of take solace in that, because working together has always made things better.

Get the whole world to focus on the same goal and:

  • The bickering ceases
  • Truces are called
  • Resources and efforts are combined for the good of everyone

This time it is truly different.

I wish that were enough.

It’s not you, it’s your clients

Our work as podcast editors is very much a location-independent job.

Unless you run a podcast studio or record on location, you could actually do everything from home – which is the best place for everyone to be right now.

But your clients make their income from other people – the same people in this world who could have a spouse who is not working or had their hours cut.

A payroll tax cut or $1,200 “Helicopter money” from the government could help ease the pain, but editing podcasts probably isn’t what puts food on our clients’ tables. Their podcast might help put food on their table, but the editing/engineering service you provide doesn’t.

You may have received a call like I did yesterday, “Is there any way you can cut your editing rates?”

Worse, it could have been an email that said, “I’m out of work and simply can not afford to pay you right now.”

There’s nothing wrong with the services we provide as podcast editors. I truly believe we help make podcasts better – like a well-manicured lawn, clean windows, and a house with a new coat of paint.

You did nothing wrong and your services are valuable…

…they just aren’t a necessity.

So it’s not you…it’s the situation your clients are in.

The bad news is…

It’s not going to get better anytime soon.

If we do stop the spread of the virus in the next two months, things will begin to return to “mostly normal”.

Many people will see the re-opening of Disney parks as the “all clear” sign and go back to what they were doing pre-quarantine. (Please don’t let Disney be your safety indicator, I beg of you).

Regardless of how fast people will go back to shopping at the malls (#shiver), I don’t think the podcast editing industry will pick up as quickly.

Think of it this way:

Restaurants will re-open. People will be SO GLAD to get out of the house (cabin fever is a real thing).

From our view, there will be lines at the Olive Garden again and we will think “everything is back to normal”.

What we don’t see is the stack of unpaid bills and late charges that piled up at the restaurant because there was no income for the many weeks they were closed.

Some restaurants aren’t going to make it. Others are going to struggle and cut services just so they can keep the doors open.

Podcast editing, as much as I hate to admit it, is one of those things that can easily be cut by our valued clients.

Getting in or out of Podcast Editing

There will be a reduction and a “stirring” of podcast editors in this industry.

  • Some professional podcast editors are going to leave and find work in other areas
  • Others are going to struggle to get back to where they were in 2019
  • Side-hustlers might not see a new client for months
  • Some will look to get started in our industry because they are looking for some side-hustle money

If you stick it out, I promise there will be work for you in the future.

If you have editing experience and come back to this after it’s all over, there will be work for you.

If you are just starting out, it’s going to be a struggle for many many months.

How a podcast editing position fits into your financial plan has everything to do with how resilient you are and how bad you want it.

The resiliency of a professional podcast editor might look like this:

  • You can squeak by on a lower income for the next few months
  • You have emergency savings to live off of
  • You provide a service others need that nobody else can provide

Yep. Your personal finances before COVID-19 can play a big part in your career choices tomorrow.

What you can do to prepare for “normalcy”

I can’t give you a solution for today’s situation – but I can give you some suggestions on how to be prepared for the future:

1. Ask clients for LinkedIn recommendations

I’m getting requests from freelancers to write them recommendations on LinkedIn.

(DUH! Why didn’t I think of that before?)

Other than your website, LinkedIn will be the place where a potential client either finds you or confirms what they want to know about you. Having some recommendations on your page can go a LONG way.

2. Get your branding in order

At the Podcast Editors Conference, Carrie Caulfield Arick presented on “Branding”. Branding isn’t marketing or prospecting – yet it is closely tied to both.

BTW: We will soon be launching the Podcast Editor Academy with the videos from the conference, sales templates, best practices, and more.

Until the Podcast Editor Academy launches, take a step back and look at your brand:

  • Does your website copy clearly and succinctly explain what you do?
  • Does your color palette work together in chorus (orange and pink do not go together)
  • What do you stand for?

Do you stand for anything? If not, figure that out now!

For example: My niche is the personal finance industry. I “stand for” helping to spread much needed financial literacy education through podcasting.

(I know, horrible description. I’m working on it)

3. Get ready to expand

There will come a point when you need help. It might not be for another year, but think about the next (or first) person you are going to hire:

BTW: If you need to shift towards making a consistent income as a virtual assistant, my friend Kayla Sloan has a great educational course. Check it out and sign up for the free workshop: “5 STEPS TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT”: *https://SteveStewart.me/10kva.

*This is an affiliate link…because I like to promote services and people who are doing things I believe in.

4. Get you some new skillz

As long as you have access to the internet, you have access to all kinds of training.

Yes, there’s always YouTube, but if want a more in-depth and structured way of learning then check out these courses:

Of course, many DAWs have their own training videos like Hindenburg https://hindenburg.com/support/tutorials. (Thanks to Hindenburg for sponsoring the Podcast Editors Conference).

I’ve also heard your library can get you free access to courses on Lynda.com. I’m not sure if you can set that up now (our library is closed until at least April 4th), but see if you can get access through their website.

5. Avoid overwhelm and STOP WATCHING THE NEWS

My life got better when I stopped watching and reading the news. When something happens that actually would impact my life, I hear about it from family and friends (and Facebook).

However, it is very important to stay up-to-date on COVID-19.

Just don’t OVERDO it.

I welcome information from friends and family, but to reduce overwhelm (which leads to depression), I try to stick to very few outside resources.

  • Check your city’s website: My city’s website offers one page of information with links to important resources – like “Doing City Business Remotely”. I actually learned about a couple services that have been in place for years!
  • Coronavirus.gov (which redirects to the CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

If the television is turned on, the channel is set for Hallmark or one of those home improvement stations. However, we usually jump into recordings on the DVR for a quick escape.

Right now I’m interested in Mysteries of the Abandoned (even though they over-dramatize everything) and re-runs of Big Bang Theory. I feel calmer just thinking about it.

Weathering the proverbial storm

Getting through this will be a challenge. Getting back to normal will be an equal challenge because it will be gradual.

Everyone in the car notices when you slam on the breaks. Nobody gives a second thought to your gradual acceleration back up to the posted speed limit.

The same goes for our future.

My last bit of advice is this:

  • Be very aware of your current situation (health and business-wise)
  • Realize you will have more challenges even after the pandemic is perceived to be over
  • Know that you’ve dealt with crisis before and will get through this

I don’t know where you are in your business. I will be praying for you (yes, you) because these are unprecedented times.

God bless you,

Steve Stewart

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