Let’s Chat About Getting Paid to Play

Thank you for agreeing to be a guest on The Paid to Play Podcast! I’m looking forward to chatting with you about what you love doing. You’re an example of what I reckon this world needs more of, and it’s my intention that our chat will help more people embrace their own curiosities and muster the courage to earn an income, large or small, from them.

TL;DR: Show Prep Basics

I have a detailed breakdown of the show flow and recording process below, but your time is important, so here are the main things to know:

  • Show length: Target is 45 minutes but many chats go for around an hour.
  • Aim: Give listeners confidence and courage to make their own brand of fun into products and services through your story and example!
  • Pre-chat prep email: Can you send an email to podcast@robf.com.au that includes: –
    • A 50-75 word introduction: What would you like me to tell our listeners about you?
    • Your Contact Information: What’s the Skype ID you’d like me to use?
    • How to Pronounce Your Name, phonetically if need be.
    • Specific Topics or Questions (Optional). What do you want to make sure we discuss?
    • Promotions (Optional). Any products/services, sales or discounts you want to promote?
    • Main contact points/web presences: What are the two primary ways people can contact you?
    • A headshot or other promotional graphic to help promote our chat on the site and social media.
  • My Skype ID: ByRobF
  • Getting a solid episode: Can you make sure you –
    • Are available early to work out any technical / logistical matters.
    • Minimise background noise to eliminate distractions and minimise editing.
    • Use headphones to eliminate feedback and minimise editing.
  • Questions to prepare for:
    • At the beginning: The Magic Ticket Question. I’ve just given you a magic ticket granting you the opportunity to do something you’ve wanted to either try or get back into. What’s on your short list?
    • At the end: What three pieces of advice would you give someone who’s either keen to do what you do or wants to monetise their own madness?
  • After the chat:
    • Promo spot: We record a short clip that I can insert into other episodes, i.e. “Hi! I’m (your name) of (your business/website) and you’re listening to The Paid to Play Podcast!”
    • Two guests: Who are two people you’d recommend as guests for the show?

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Want to know more? Please read on!

About Our Chat

I like to keep each episode of the podcast more a conversation instead of a straight up interview. I aim for each chat (which will be audio only, by the way) to go for 30-45 minutes, with some time before and after to warm up, settle in, solve any technical quibbles and talk about what’s next.

I want our chat to help our listeners to beat their own “don’t give up your day job” blues by showing them through your story that:

  • They can be regular people and still get paid to play.
  • It’s hard work but often less so than we think (or fear).

How It Works

Assuming we’re not meeting for a location recording, I’ll get in touch via Skype (my user-ID is ByRobF). By default I go audio only; it cuts down on bandwith limitations (one of the down-sides of living Down Under) and ensures we get the best possible audio quality.

I aim to record our chat no further than ten weeks away from its scheduled run date (Wednesday afternoon US time; Wednesday late evening UK time; Thursday morning Australian Eastern time). This makes sure the chat is still fresh with both of us when it goes live and is close enough to any events you want to promote for you to channel the pre-event excitement.

I’ve detailed a structure for the show, but it’s certainly not rigid. We may not get to some of the questions below and I may have a few additional questions noted down based on my research; I like to go with what comes up organically. I like to approach this as a chat rather than an Interview.

LANGUAGE NOTE: The podcast is marked as “Explicit” in iTunes by default so that our chat is as friendly and relaxed as possible; as such, I have no problem with any less-than-polite words or phrases that might come out.

Pre-Chat Prep

Please send me an email ( podcast at robf dot com dot au ) before our scheduled interview with answers to the questions below. They make a huge difference in how polished we both sound and how big our impact is.

  • How You’d Like to be Introduced.  In 50-75 words, what would you like me to tell our listeners about you? Feel free to include your background, passions, struggles, credentials, upcoming launches, hobbies, a website you own, media you’ve been featured in, where you live and who lives with you, or anything else you like.
  • Your Contact Information. What’s the Skype ID you’d like me to use? At the moment, Skype is the only online voice system that I trust to be able to record from.
  • How to Pronounce Your Name. If anyone has ever had trouble saying your first or last name, what’s the phonetic pronunciation? Mine is “Rob Farker.” Yep, like “Parker”, just with F instead of a P. Them bloody Scots
  • Specific Topics or Questions (Optional). Is there a topic you want to discuss or a specific question you want me to ask? I’ll do my best to get it / them into the chat when I can.
  • Promotions (Optional). Do you want to tell our listeners about your products for sale or or skills for hire? Would you like to offer listeners access to your free ebook / video / podcast / other downloadable product? What about a discount code (time limited or otherwise)? Please include a link to your free download, a sales/marketing page for your product or service, whether you or I will detail the promotion, how long the promotion will last, and any other necessary info in your email.

Interview Best Practices

You may not need these depending on your interview experience and tech savvy. Still, sometimes veterans of media and interviews are happy for a reminder or two!

  1. Be available early. Being ready even five minutes before our scheduled time lets us work out any kinks or finalise any logistics.
  2. Be in a quiet room with little background noise. Think about fans, rustling clothing, dangling necklaces or bracelets, and open windows. Also, do your best to quiet pets or silence any electronic devices that might make sounds during our chat (e.g., cell phones, computer notifications, alarm clocks, etc.).
  3. Use headphones if possible. A headset mic or the inbuilt one in your laptop / netbook / phone is fine, but I’ve found that playing my voice over your loudspeakers during a Skype chat can lead to feedback issues which I may have to spend a lot of time cleaning up later.
  4. Use personal stories. People respond to and resonate with real stories of failure, success, and everything in-between.
  5. One person talks at a time (if possible). This ensures that the listener doesn’t have to parse multiple voices at once.
  6. Avoid jargon and explain terms or acronyms. Assume the listener doesn’t know what you know or may not understand what you’re talking about.
  7. Sound quality matters. I use a steelseries Siberia V2 headphone set and an AudioTechnica ATR2100-USB microphone (which many podcasters swear by as a good all-round unit). Your iPhone earbuds and mic are good, but be careful when moving; the microphone can bump on clothing when you move your head, causing audible interference.
  8. Test your hardware, software, and settings. For example, configure your software to use the best microphone if you have multiple. If you haven’t used specific hardware or software in a while, check to see if you have the latest drivers or version installed.
  9. Interrupt me. This is a friendly chat and we can interrupt our friends. Don’t hold back.
  10. Have water handy. You never know when your throat will get dry or a frog will jump in it.
  11. Remind the show host to press “Record.” See previous re. veterans sometimes needing reminders! I have managed to forget to hit record on at least one chat; thankfully, my guest recorded it at her end and sent me the file!

Show Flow and Questions

  1. Show and Guest Intro: I quickly introduce myself and the show’s aim then hype you and your play up based on the info you’ve provided in the “Pre-Chat Prep” email.
  2. The Magic Ticket Question: Imagine I’ve just given you a magic ticket that grants you the opportunity to do something you’ve been wanting to either try or get back into. What would be on your short list to use the ticket on?
    • Books/TV/movies/games you’re keen on?
    • People you want to meet or catch up with?
    • Places you want to visit?
    • Challenges you want to try your hand at?
  3. Tell me about your awesome thing. Let your own inner fan of your stuff out to play! What’s great about it?
  4. When did the “People could pay me to do this!” lightbulb switch on?
    • Who did you look to for inspiration / as examples of what was possible for you?
    • When did someone first tell you not to give up your day job and how did you handle it?
  5. The early days are usually the biggest learning experience in doing your thing. What were your early successes, and what do you remember needing to learn the most?
    • Who were your first customers?
    • Who were your first fans?
  6. People tend to think that the entire process of making and marketing your play must be like the feeling they get when experiencing your products/services. Can you help take getting paid to play off the pedestal a little and tell us about the things you do in the background to make your thing possible, including the business-y bits?
    • While ultimately it comes down to you doing your thing, who in your network do you turn to when things get tough?
    • Who are your most frequent business touch points?
    • What element of your preparation or routine takes people by surprise?
  7. Where are you on the Paid to Play Spectrum?
    • Are you making enough money to:
      1. Cover your play’s expenses?
      2. Pay some of your bills?
      3. Earn a fully self-supporting wage?
    • What sort of non-monetary perks do you get?
      1. Invitations to be a guest at conventions?
      2. Gifts or other free stuff?
      3. Unexpected opportunities?
  8. How often do people still tell you to focus on your (or settle down and get a good, steady) day job? How do you handle it nowadays?
  9. What’s next for you and your play?
    • Do you have a Long Term Goal? (“No” is absolutely fine!)
    • What is the next:
      • Skill you want to master?
      • Challenge you want to overcome?
  10. Patreon Backer Questions: If I’ve not already found an opportunity to ask elsewhere during the chat, I’ll put any questions given by my backers on the Patreon crowdfunding web site to you now.
  11. What are three things that you’ve learned along the way that could help someone just starting out, whether in doing your kind of thing or just embracing their own play?

After the Show

Once the chat itself wraps up, there are a couple more things I’ll ask you to help me with:

A Promo Audio Clip

I like to drop these into other chats to help promote your episode; it may go into a chat with someone in a similar niche or even with someone completely unrelated. If you want to get an idea, here’s a YouTube archive of guest promo spots.

The general script is:

  • Hi! I’m (your name) of (your site/hobby/business/product) and you’re listening to the Paid to Play Podcast!
  • This is I’m (your name) of (your site/hobby/business/product) and I chatted with Rob for Episode (##) of the Paid to Play Podcast!

Two Recommendations for Guests?

I’m always looking for more folks who’re getting Paid to Play to chat with, and as someone who’s already doing what they love, you most likely already know a few people who’re doing the same! Who do you reckon would make a good guest for the show?


Recording: By participating in a Paid to Play interview, you agree to allow me, Rob Farquhar (registered as a sole trader in Australia), to record, distribute, and disseminate the discussion content of our podcast episode in any manner. You also agree to allow Rob Farquhar to retain rights to the produced media for potential future use in presentations, products, services, and in all other public distribution.

This agreement does not include any audio samples of your other works, which will only be used in the published episode and with your permission.

Due Credit

Huge thanks to Joel Zaslovsky of the Smart and Simple Matters Podcast for the basis for this document! Like it, this page is UNcopyright.