“How to Become the Center of Influence Through Shame-Free Podcasting” with Sara Dean of The Shameless Mom Academy

“How to Become the Center of Influence Through Shame-Free Podcasting” with Sara Dean of The Shameless Mom Academy


part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a “binge-able” podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sara Dean.

Sara is the creator and host of the Shameless Mom Academy, a top rated podcast with nearly 2 million downloads. After a crippling identity crisis following the birth of her son, Sara took her background in psychology/health/wellness and rebuilt her identity one step at a time. Today, Sara motivates and inspires women all over the world to live bigger, bolder, braver #everydamnday.


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Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?

In 2015, I found myself in a position where I had done everything I wanted to do in my current career. I owned a successful, thriving gym in Seattle but I felt like I had taken that role as far as I wanted to take it. I was also a new-ish mom at this time. My experiences of infertility and motherhood had shaken me to my core and I craved a place to talk about these pieces of my life, as well be able to relate to other mothers in profound ways beyond the conversations I was having at my gym.

During this time I had started listening to entrepreneurial podcasts to help me in my gym business and it occurred to me that a podcast was a place where I could have any kind of conversation I wanted to. There were no limits — and the reach and connection with others could be massively impactful for myself and for a community of listeners. So, I decided to start a show as a passion project, just to give myself a creative outlet. That show was The Shameless Mom Academy.

Within months, I knew that podcasting was my next career iteration. I knew this passion project had the potential to change my life and the lives of women all over the world. Shortly after this realization, I listed my gym for sale and decided to build an entirely new business around The Shameless Mom Academy.

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

By far, the most interesting and magical thing that has happened is the intimate connections that have grown among my listeners. I very tentatively started a private Facebook group (“Shameless Mom #everydamnday”) for my listeners about a year and a half ago, hoping it wouldn’t just be a time suck for me. And I quickly realized that moms in this group weren’t looking for me — they were looking to be seen. They were looking for connection. They were looking for a sacred place to be vulnerable.

Shortly after creating our private Facebook group, I created a paid membership community for listeners and again was blown away by these women’s desire to be seen, to connect, to just be — in a safe and sacred place with other moms. I think it’s easy to overestimate how much you have to give of yourself when you’re starting a new venture, when the reality is that in many cases, your audience just wants a place to connect and be in community with like minded people — and offering that is life changing and life giving for your listeners.

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?

I think it was the third or so guest I had on my show — I realized in post production that my mic wasn’t plugged in for the entire interview. But I was too embarrassed to tell the guest about my error and ask her to rerecord. So, I went in and rerecorded over all my audio bits. Given the very conversational nature of our interview there was a lot of laughing and small conversational banter. So I had to sit in my office for hours recording bits of me laughing and making little noises and short phrases in conversational tones and then number all the audio clips (I think there were more than 100) and send them to my producer to insert in the right places. It was such. a. pain.

I’m now friends with the guest from this interview and I know she would have gladly rerecorded the interview. But I was too embarrassed to own my newbie status to ask. Such a waste of time and energy!

When I was starting out I felt very green — like everyone else was an expert and I was just a baby. I have since learned that all entrepreneurs and podcasters have their insecurities and weak spots. No one is immune. Basically, we’re all the same. When we admit our mistakes to a guest, they are more than happy to help us fix the problem. No need to hide our errors or painstakingly try to fix them all on our own.

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

A little over 3 years, since March 2106. Just passed 350 episodes.

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

I always want my listeners to walk away feeling more capable and competent in their daily lives as women and mothers. Women are culturally indoctrinated to feel small and play small. I want the women who listen to my show to feel empowered and excited to stand up, take up space, take a seat in the boardroom, take charge of their relationships — to proudly become the leaders of their lives.

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Sara Dean!

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Podcaster Influencer, Sara Dean of The Shameless Mom Academy Podcast shares the best ways to:

1) Book Great Guests. The big huge secret to booking great guests is to JUST ASK great guests to be on your show. Know that you are providing a platform and an opportunity to every guest you invite on your show and that is a gift to them. When I first started my show, I was under the false illusion that my guests were all doing me a huge favor. Over time, I started to more readily receive the gratitude guests would offer after our interviews and I realized I was giving them a gift too. Once I owned this, I started asking more high profile people to come on my show and I was blown away by how many said YES — and eagerly at that. Very few people have said no to me. Almost every single guest who I have assumed would never have time for my little show has graciously made time for our conversation.

2) Increase Listeners. The first step to increasing listeners is not about attracting new listeners, but to keep the ones you have, as they will always be your biggest advertisers. This is easier than getting new ones and gets you a solid base from which you can start to build a community and/or a business.

Create consistent content on a schedule that your audience can rely on.

Always show up when you say you’re going to show up.

Always stay in integrity in the content you produce, the way you engage with your audience, and the way you provide value to your audience.

Be your truest self.

Provide ridiculously valuable content — whether you’re creating content strictly for entertainment purposes or you’re creating content that might deeply impact and change your listeners’ lives.

3) Produce In A Professional Way. Get a good microphone. Sound quality matters — and doesn’t have to be expensive. Almost everyone I know uses the ATR21000. It’s $70 on Amazon. Having a professional sounding show is not expensive, but it’s very important. If people aren’t having a pleasurable listening experience they will not tune in again.

4) Encourage Engagement. Create a place for conversations beyond the episodes. Facebook groups are great for this, as are public social media posts. Treat every single commenter like a real person — cause they are! Comment back, ask follow up questions, give them virtual hugs & high fives. Get to know your listeners in your inbox, your DMs, in your comments on posts. They will feel like they have a new famous best friend and they will be lifelong followers.

5) Monetize. The Shameless Mom Academy has 5 streams of revenue:

  • Our membership community, Momentum Mamas
  • Our mastermind community, Tenacious Mamas
  • One on one business coaching
  • Virtual and live events
  • Sponsorship/Ad Partners

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?

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Sara Dean!

Picture of Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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