Lightheart



Adventures

050: 50th episode celebration! Aka how to start an interview podcast

 

It’s episode 50! It took a long time to get here, longer than it technically should for a weekly show, but we’re here. We made it, and it’s amazing. I am in a little shock about what this signifies. I’ve talked to so many amazing people in this space, and I am just so grateful to everyone who’s been a guest and to all of you for listening, tuning in every week, giving me feedback, and leaving those super encouraging reviews. To celebrate making it to 50 episodes over the past 15 months, this episode is one where I am the guest. Brenton joined me again, but this time, he asked me the questions. So if you’ve ever wondered about how I got started with this super awesome interview podcast and wanted to know about my processes, we get really into it. Brenton also asked me about that ever elusive pet merch shop, so we dig into some of the struggles I’ve run into while crawling towards a launch. Hopefully you both enjoy and find value in hearing about all this.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00:00 Introduction & Updates
  • 00:02:30 It’s episode 50!
  • 00:07:31 How Roll Play Grow came to be
  • 00:13:08 Preparing for the first episode
  • 00:16:55 Recording set-up
  • 00:18:58 How to make an interview podcast episode
  • 00:25:49 Would you have done anything differently if you were to start over?
  • 00:28:38 What are you excited for?
  • 00:38:43 Struggles of starting an online store
  • 00:43:47 What’s been the most challenging part?
  • 00:50:38 Upcoming projects
  • 00:52:21 Where can people find you
  • 00:53:20 Wrap-up

Find Roll Play Grow at:

Show Affiliates / Some of Courtney's favorite things

  • FloDesk Easily create gorgeous emails. Get your 1st month free & 50% off for your first year.

  • Found Familiar Delicious coffee meets Dungeons & Dragons artwork. Use code lightheartadv for 10% off your order.

  • Friday Afternoon Tea Grab a cup of tea with blends based on your favorite nerdy series. Use lightheartadv for 10% off

  • Dice Envy creates beautiful dice in a variety of materials. Use lightheartadv for 10% off your order

  • Buzzsprout is my fabulous podcast host! Try it for free & receive a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up.

Transcript

Courtney:

Hello & Welcome to Episode 50 of Roll Play Grow, the podcast for tabletop entrepreneurs, creators, and fans. I am Courtney Stover of Lightheart Adventures, and in this podcast, we talk to the creators behind the brands in the tabletop roleplay gaming space about who they are and how they are turning their passion for gaming into a career. 

It’s episode 50! It took a long time to get here, longer than it technically should for a weekly show, but we’re here. We made it, and it’s amazing. I am in a little shock about what this signifies. I’ve talked to so many amazing people in this space, and I am just so grateful to everyone who’s been a guest and to all of you for listening, tuning in every week, giving me feedback, and leaving those super encouraging reviews. To celebrate making it to 50 episodes over the past 15 months, this episode is one where I am the guest. Brenton joined me again, but this time, he asked me the questions. So if you’ve ever wondered about how I got started with this super awesome interview podcast and wanted to know about my processes, we get really into it. Brenton also asked me about that ever elusive pet merch shop, so we dig into some of the struggles I’ve run into while crawling towards a launch. Hopefully you both enjoy and find value in hearing about all this. 

 

You’re about to hear from me for the next 54 minutes, so I won’t make this intro any longer. I’ll just ask that you make sure you’re following the show, and if you want to help support the show, you can find me on Patreon at Roll Play Grow, and you can go to lightheartadventures.com/ourfavoritetrinkets to learn about all of the amazing TTRPG related items that we love.

 

Alright y’all, Let’s do this.

Courtney: 

Hello friends. It is episode 50 and I am joined by my lovely husband and business partner, Brenton.

Brenton: 

Hello.

Courtney: 

How are you doing today, babe?

Brenton: 

I’m doing great. Thank you very much.

Courtney: 

Yeah, this should be a very interesting episode and I’m going to talk more than I ever have on any of my podcasts. So it’ll be great.

Brenton: 

And I’m going to talk more as well, since I’m never on them, so…

Courtney: 

Hey, you were on episode five.

Brenton: 

That’s true.

Courtney: 

Excuse you. You were one of my first guests

Brenton: 

It feels; it’s been so long

Courtney: 

I know; it has. It’s been 45 episodes and it’s been a lot more weeks than that.

Brenton: 

But Hey, congratulations on 50 episodes.

Courtney: 

Well the interview is in your hands.

Brenton: 

My mighty hands. Yes, let’s get started. So Courtney, please introduce yourself. Tell the lovely listeners about yourself.

Courtney: 

Oh, this is amazing having my questions turned on me. So yes, my name is Courtney Stover. If this is the first episode you’re listening to, that’s a little random, but hi, I’m happy you’re here. I’ve been doing this podcast for about 15 months now. I was about to say years, and that was going to be totally wrong. 15 months now. But yeah, I don’t know. What do I normally ask? How did you get into gaming? So

Brenton: 

How did you get into gaming?

Courtney: 

I would say that started with video games as it does with a lot of people. I grew up playing Sega and Sonic, Aladdin, Lion King, all those fun games. And pretty much anytime I was having difficulty with something, the person that would be in the room with me, which was usually my older brother, would steal the controller from my hands and do it for me, whether I wanted him to or not. So I have developed an aversion to having people watching me play video games. But anyways, that progressed through the years. I got into World of Warcraft when it first came out and been playing that off and on ever since. Yeah, I really got into like theater and stopped playing video games as much. When it came to board games and tabletop games, I played Sorry, and Monopoly, and didn’t really know that other board games existed until after I met this guy here, back in like 2012, when you took me to Dice Dojo in Chicago, a board game store for the very first time. And I was like, what the hell? There are so many things here. What do you even do with them? I just thought there were like 10 games, so yeah, that was my introduction to board games. And then you got me into Malifaux, which is like, Warhammer light, kind of, but with a cooler setting. You know; it’s what I do, and then that eventually turned into us. Kick-starting Malifaux’s TTRPG, Through the Breach, and that was my introduction to TTRPGs. And then eventually we tried D&D though it kept not working out because of the people that we were playing with. And then we moved to Oregon and we met a bunch of people at a board game night, and you volunteered to lead a D&D campaign for a whole bunch of strangers that we didn’t know, which turned into a party of eight people. And, fast forward: that turned into our little company. And then I started a podcast.

Brenton: 

Yeah, no what a ride. You go from someone who’s like, what are these games to the point where you are running essentially the company of making tabletop games and other accessories and stuff. It’s, that’s really impressive. So, I know you talked a little bit about, you know, your background in tabletop gaming. So what kind of campaigns are you in right now?

Courtney: 

So I am, DM-ing a Curse of Strahd campaign and we have also just started Wild Beyond the Witchlight that I am a character in. And then I think we’re going to be starting a One Ring campaign soon. And I’m about to be play-testing another TTRPG that I am project managing. We’ve also just kind of got a group together of wanting to do one to three session long run-throughs of a whole bunch of different games because our shelf, as you know, is very full of games we haven’t played yet.

Brenton: 

We were very prolific on Kickstarter and Indiegogo Make a lot of friends and see their projects coming up on, on Twitter. Like, all right, we got a back that got to back that, and now we got like an entire shelf full of full of games that like, yeah, we should probably should probably start playing those even if they are just, you know, two to three sessions long.

Courtney: 

We’ll get there.

Brenton: 

Yeah I think the last time we tried that it was going to be two to three sessions and it wound up being a year long campaign of Malifaux, I think.

Courtney: 

Okay, well some life things happened.

Brenton: 

That’s true.

Courtney: 

It’s not that we played often for a year.

Brenton: 

Yeah. That whole grownup life of only being able to play once a month at best. But still, anyways. So I know a real hot topic on our reader’s minds are: how did Roll Play Grow come to be?

Courtney: 

Can I just say I’m loving this so much? You’re like so into it and I love it. Yes. So how did Roll Play Grow come to be? That is kind of a fun, weird story where… I have lived in many places, but we used to live in Oregon. We were there for about three and a half years before we moved a couple of months ago to just south of Seattle. But while we were in Oregon, we came up to visit your sister who lives about an hour east of Seattle. And. You know, I promise this is going to make sense when I get there

Brenton: 

In a roundabout way.

Courtney: 

You know, it’s just the way that my brain worked. But anyways, so we came to visit her. And while we were in like our last afternoon, hanging out with her, the three of us were getting lunch and she asked if we were gonna stay in Salem, Oregon, or if we were going to want to move elsewhere in the future, because we’ve already moved so many times. And at first we were like, I mean, no, we kind of don’t really know where we’re gonna wind up next. We keep talking about it. Like Salem is fine, but it’s not a forever place. Maybe we’ll go somewhere else in the future. We don’t know where yet. We’d figure it out. And somehow that turned into her suggesting that we start traveling full time in RVs. And at first I was like, no. And then we moved on, but then I thought about it. And a couple of hours later, we’re in the car driving back to Oregon and I just turned to Brenton and I go, but what if?

Brenton: 

Oh, that bug bit you hard.

Courtney: 

Yes. Yes, it did.

Brenton: 

You’re trying to sell me. I’m like, but what if you became a traveling DM? I’m like I’m having a hard enough time running campaigns on my own, but for complete strangers. I’m not saying no, but I am listening.

Courtney: 

Lightheart was already established at that point. We had a blog that we were still trying to figure out what the heck we were doing. And he was drawing maps and things, and it was like, okay, well, how else could we make this into something that we could justify traveling with and like actually earn a profit enough to support ourselves on the road? So that bug hit me real hard. It has still hit me hard to this day. I started researching, well, how do people support themselves? And in that I found a podcast that features entrepreneurs that are on the road. Basically, they travel full-time and their trailer or their RV, and here’s how they do it. Here’s how they pay for it. So I started listening to that podcast and fell in love with that. And I just started trying to like brainstorm different things that we could do on the road that would lead to that. Eventually I kind of took this podcast idea that I was listening to, and also started thinking along the lines of some other things I do over at Warcraft Radio, which has a whole bunch of content creators, and that’s another conversation, but I help manage all of them. I guess it kind of started with, oh, we could go visit people and do videos, like touring their companies and their shops and things. And so that was an idea that we were playing with for a little while but I realized that I would want to not necessarily wait until, you know, a few years down the road, once we’re on the road. And I’d rather start networking or making connections now. And it’s like, okay, well, what if I interview other content creators about just, you know, making stuff and being cool. So I went, okay, cool. I wonder if there’s any podcasts out there that do this already. And at the time, I actually only found one and he had just started a couple of months before. So shout out to Andrew, from Roll for Persuasion, because that quickly became one of my favorite podcasts, but I also went to this like, well, crap, I don’t want to do the same thing he’s doing. Cause I don’t want it to feel like I’m copying this awesome person. So I sat on it longer and came up with a couple other ideas on how I could niche it down and make it more like unique to myself. It felt for a while, like every time I had an idea, I found another podcast that was already doing that idea. Okay, cool. We’re going to niche it down again and figure out something else. And eventually it turned into this like, well, wait a second. What if I combine the concepts of my two favorite podcasts, Roll for Persuasion and the RV Entrepreneur. And I focus specifically on the business side of things. So it’s not just talking to people that are creating within the TTRPG space. It’s how are you actually paying for this? What are the things that you’re doing? Like let’s really dive into the steps of it. And after all of that, a very long time, honestly, I think it was about 18 months? From the time that I like, kind of had, maybe I could do a podcast, to actually launching. That’s, how it started.

Brenton: 

Yeah, that gestation period definitely took a while, but we were pretty thorough in research and making sure that yeah, we weren’t stepping on anyone’s toes and we were trying to get, you know, the right setup for things. But once we got everything all settled, including the name, which I think..

Courtney: 

Yeah, that took a while.

Brenton: 

And it was just one of those shots out of the blue. Like I think we were; I don’t even remember what the original names we were kind of toying around with.

Courtney: 

I remember one that I really liked was Flip for Adventure, but that felt like it would also be really close to copying another one. And also most people play D&D it feels like, and that’s not flipping that’s rolling.

Brenton: 

It was one of those serendipitous moments that we settled on the name as we did, but with that, what steps did you take to get ready for that first episode?

Courtney: 

Yeah, so I knew pretty much right off the bat that I was going to commission somebody from the group that I work with at Warcraft Radio to make my logo and an announcement trailer, that he was going to help me with the music too for the podcast intro. So I started chatting with him really early on, even before I had finalized the name, just figuring out like, okay, like how much would you charge for this when it’s not for our internal stuff? And just throwing some ideas around. I sent him some music that I liked from one of those online databases where you can download music and different parts to kind of compile your own music from different tracks. And he got started working on that. And then yeah, making that video. I mean, he did all of it, but it was like the same music and he wound up grabbing some of your maps and using those to animate or have like a really cool animation, which if you haven’t seen that before, it is the pinned tweets on my Twitter at KetraRPG. And yeah, it’s really cool. I really like it. He worked on that and it really did not take him long at all. I think he got super inspired, but normally we give him a month long turnaround time to make podcast assets. So yeah, that was like a big thing was just getting the branding done. And then I decided on what microphone I wanted to get. And at the time that I was ready to shop, I knew that I was going to want a Blue Yeti and the World of Warcraft special edition came out at the time that I was ready to buy a microphone. And I went, yeah. All right. I would like to make fun voices with this microphone.

Brenton: 

Yeah, you definitely played around with the gnome voice for quite a while.

Courtney: 

I mean, it’s a pretty great voice, I’m just sayin’. The WoW Blue Yeti came with some built-in filters that make some pretty epic voices, and it was a lot of fun. And I figured like, Hey, you know, this way I can do more voiceover work for some of the stuff at the station too. So two birds with one stone. It was great. So I figured out what recording equipment I was going to use. I decided for the beginning that I was just going to use Audacity because it was free and I’d used it in college once upon a time. So I was like, okay, I’m kind of familiar with how to edit on that, but then I just spent some time researching a couple of different actual recording platforms, like, all right. What’s the best way to record online. I settled on Zencaster also because it was free and it’s actually a super user-friendly, and I still use it to this day. And then just a whole bunch of how to start a podcast. And I was fortunate that I had that network of 30 people, most of whom are also podcasters, that I could just kind of reach out to and ask for advice and, you know, an ear on getting my audio to sound better as I just experimented. And then the fun part came of trying to book my first guest, which did actually work out pretty well. That was David Daris. He’s the CEO and founder of Dice Envy. And I had actually reached out to him prior to see if he would do a blog interview, because we had decided that we wanted to become affiliates with Dice Envy. And I figured like, Hey, it’d be cool to have an interview with them to help promote that affiliate partnership. And he basically said that he was too busy, but if I wanted to do an audio one, he could do that. And I was like, well, I mean, I’m about to start a podcast in a month or two, I guess I could reach out to then. And he said, sure. So that’s how David became my first guest.

Brenton: 

Lovely. Well, since you got kinda like your first interview under the belt, what’s your set up for recording?

Courtney: 

It’s pretty simple, honestly. I have my trusty mic that is always set up. I use Zencaster to record, like I said, and then really I just send my guests a bunch of info ahead of time. So here’s a bunch of setup things. Here’s a video that you can watch to help you get set up. And here’s some preliminary questions, like your name, your pronouns, any links you want me to include in the show notes? Things like that. And then we hop on and we just record I always have a backup going just because technology and I have had audio get lost before because the recording over the internet is never guaranteed. I still use Audacity to record my backup copy, however, as of a couple of episodes ago, I no longer use it to edit. I am now using Descript.

Brenton: 

Oh, what’s Descript?

Courtney: 

It is a video and audio editing software that makes a transcript. And the really cool thing about it is that you can edit your audio via the transcript. So one of my favorite features is that it will go through and it will identify all of the ums and the others and you can right click and they will all disappear. In fact, when I go to edit this, what I just said is going to and disappear and I’ll have to go bring it back, but it’s fine. But yeah, that honestly cuts out probably like 10 to 30 minutes of editing by itself, depending on how many ums and uhs show up in the episode.

Brenton: 

Nice. No, that sounds pretty awesome. And I promise this isn’t a paid promotion for Descript,, but if they were that’d be pretty cool too. So what is your full process from planning your next episode to getting ready to start the episode and then after, you know, once you’re done recording? Walk me through that process.

Courtney: 

Yeah, sure. You know, I love my processes. So it starts with booking a guest and scheduling that. Which I think is a later question. So I’ll save that for later. But yeah, once it is time, then, like I said before, I have an email that I send to everybody, which has the, a bit of an outline. Here’s some setup info, here’s some preliminary questions to help me get started. And then I sit down and, basically just research the crap out of them. So usually inviting my guests via Twitter, so I’ll just be, you know, stalking their Twitter profile, any links that they have in their profile, any links that they send to me that may be separate from what’s in their profile, if they are on Twitch or YouTube, or a podcast, I’ll go and listen or watch a few episodes or whatever, just to get an idea of who they are and the stuff that they like to talk about. And I will write questions. Honestly, you know, now that I’m at episode 50, it’s pretty nice because I can kind of use a previous episode as a starting point for what my question outline is going to be and just, you know, go through and personalize it. But I don’t know if you’ve been listening to the show for awhile I’d think you’ve figured out. I have kind of a pretty standard outline of introduce yourself. And then let’s talk about your project. How did you start? What are your processes? So by this point, it takes me five to 10 minutes to write questions, honestly.

Brenton: 

Probably less even, if you’re familiar with the person you’re interviewing,

Courtney: 

Actually no, at that point, it takes me more because then I want to ask more detailed questions. Yeah, getting ready for Nathan’s interview. I, that probably took me like 30 minutes to write a question just because I was like, all right, I gotta, I gotta tailor down. I gotta narrow this down. We can’t go on for three hours, even though I could actually talk to him for a long time. Anyways. So that is the preliminary work. And then I’ll have to set up a new channel in Zencaster. And I will send all of that information over to my guest. So then the day of, I pop that into my computer about 10 to 15 minutes before it’s recording time and just double check my audio, make sure the right filters are on. See how echo-y it is today, which today is very echo-y just because of the way that we’re doing this interview. It’s fine. Trying not to worry about it. Yeah, just try to get my audio to sound good. And then I’ll hop into the room and hang out and wait for my guest. I have a spiel that I do at the beginning of all of those just trying to help my guests feel a little bit more comfortable in case they’re feeling nervous. One of the things that I always like to tell them is, you know, if you ever feel like you are talking too much, you are not, this is a time to get to know you. And the more you talk, the easier you make my job. I’ve noticed since I started doing that, that if I have a guest that is a little bit nervous, it really seems to help reassure them. Once we’ve gone through the spiel, and we do a quick test recording to see how our audio levels are balancing against each other. And then we get started, we record and I try to keep it to about an hour. Sometimes it definitely goes long, especially when I have two people on. I just have accepted that if I have two guests on, at the same time, we are probably going to go over an hour and that’s okay. But once the episode is done recording, then I drop it into the script, which automatically creates a transcript. And from that point on, it’s just a matter of editing all of that, where I’ll be honest, I’m a lazy editor. I edit the content. I don’t really worry about editing the levels or any of that, unless it’s like something really bad, but it’s all mostly focused on getting rid of the ums, getting rid of awkward spaces, any background noises that may happen, you know, if somebody coughs or whatever. Then I will add in the intro music my kind of mid roll ad, the outro. And then I’ll go through and record the introduction that I do where, you know, I start off with hello and welcome to episode blah of Roll Play Grow. Yeah, writing that introduction kind of depends on how much I feel like I need to say in that particular episode. So I’ll write that I’ll record it. And then I will save the project and export it. The next step is uploading it to Buzzsprout, which is my podcast host. And the thing that I love about Buzzsprout and the reason that I get to be kind of a lazy editor is that it has something called magic mastering, which does all of the level balancing and any extra noise reduction and stuff that you need all by itself, which I find super awesome. There’s only like an extra four bucks a month. And I was like, Hm, four bucks versus hours of my time. Done. So it does that. And then once it is uploaded and processed, then it’s going in and adding the show notes. And at that point I will listen to it again, just to make sure that the magic mastering went well, but at the same time, I’m able to add in the timestamps. So I’m kind of working on both of those at the same time. And then also while that’s going, I can make the show notes on the blog post. From that point, it is just scheduling the post and the episode to go live and getting social media ready to go to advertise when the episode is up and then I’ll send the link to the blog post and also, if they want it, the HTML to my guests in case they want to embed it anywhere and just tag away.

Brenton: 

That is very impressive and intense. That’s a, quite the workload you’ve got there on like per episode. That’s, that’s pretty incredible. But I’d say has there been anything that’s surprised you about creating the show since you’ve been doing it for so long?

Courtney: 

That’s a good question. You know, I, it probably, at first was t he amount of work that went into it, especially when I was first starting it off. And before I’d really found the magic mastering on Buzzsprout and I was trying to teach myself how to edit audio at the same time as actually editing the first couple of episodes. I definitely feel over the last year that I’ve been able to get into a good routine, but it was definitely surprising at the beginning. I’m just, wow, this is a lot of work if I want this to sound actually good. Other than that honestly, I mean, no, I don’t think that there is a whole lot that has really surprised me simply because I had been working with other podcasts creator for a while before this.

Brenton: 

All right. Well I’ve got some questions from our Lightheart Advnentures Discord. Run Write Play asks: would you have done anything differently from the start?

Courtney: 

I honestly wish that I hadn’t taken as long as it took to get started. Like I don’t regret that it took 18 months of thinking about it, but I do just kind of wish that I had jumped on it sooner. You know, it’s interesting because, so I had Emil on a couple of weeks ago for… actually, I guess, last week, whatever. Time means nothing anymore. Just talk about his podcast, Double DM. And it was just so interesting because you know, his story was that he and his cohost basically took six weeks to get started. Just listening to that, like, oh yeah. It took me like 18 months and you know, it happened, and I’m happy with the result of the show. I’m happy with how it’s been going overall, but I do wish that I had not obsessed as much about making it as perfect as possible from the beginning and just started because I feel like I may have missed out on some earlier opportunities that I would have had if I had just kind of gotten into this space a lot sooner than I did. Because really again, when I looked, when I first started looking, I really only found two shows that were interviewing tabletop creators. Now, there’s a bunch of us.

Brenton: 

It’s, it’s very easy to look around, you know, our sphere of interests from the TTRPG space and see that there’s a lot of people doing… doing similar stuff, but they’re all making, making it work and making it individual. And that’s great to see.

Courtney: 

No, it’s definitely true. I say that and, but on the flip side, you look over at like the World of Warcraft podcasting community, which is another one that I’m a part of, and there are like over a hundred Blizzard podcasts out there right now. Like it is wild. Really, I guess my advice for anyone who is thinking of wanting to start a show that’s maybe, you know, maybe similar to mine or similar to another one is you’re always going to find the way to make it unique. And simply by the nature of it being you and not the other person, your show is going to wind up being unique. So don’t do what I did and don’t let like, “oh my gosh, it already exists” be the reason that you don’t start or that you delay starting because you’re going to find your way.

Brenton: 

I’ve got another question here from our Discord server. What are you excited about looking into the future?

Courtney: 

Yeah, honestly, I’d say I’m pretty excited about just how much more confident I have gotten with asking for guests, you know, like maybe even some more high profile guests, we’ll see, like maybe next week. Spoilers. But, yeah, so just say like, I’m just happy my confidence is definitely a lot stronger than it was 50 episodes ago and I think I’ve finally gotten into a really good routine on keeping up with episodes because you know, the first year was definitely rocky for a lot of reasons. But it was just really hard at times to keep up with actually sticking to this weekly schedule. And so now that I’ve got a good routine going, I’m just looking forward to continuing to see where this show takes me. I have met some truly incredible people just by nature of having them on my show. And a lot of them are people that I’m like, you know, if I could see you on a regular basis, I feel like we’d be really good friends. But it’s the kind of thing where one day, yeah, I absolutely still want us to go on the road and travel full time, even if it’s just for like a year or two. And I fully intend to reach out to almost, I mean, basically like any of my guests that I can to just say, Hey, we’re going to be driving through let’s hang out and just developing those connections has been really cool. I guess I’m mostly just excited to continue to see where it takes me cuz the nature of an interview podcast is you talked to a bunch of cool people and you have no idea where it’s going to lead. Like this podcast is I feel part of the reason that we are now in Seattle and that you have the job that you have.

Brenton: 

I think, yeah, we can say that that’s a direct kind of correlation.

Courtney: 

Yeah, look, it’s just, it’s wild. And so, I don’t know, like it’s, it’s hard to say what specifically I’m excited about. I’m excited to keep doing this.

Brenton: 

Yeah. I mean, I can honestly pinpoint the point in my life where I realized I could start doing stuff with tabletop role-playing games. Basically when we moved to Salem, it was when we met that the gaming group and it was like, I’ll fall on this, this grenade to DM this group for strangers. And from there, it was like, this is really fun. And I want to do more, but a as probably your biggest fan, listening back over the last 50 episodes, I can honestly say you’ve gotten so much stronger as a interviewer and it’s fabulous to see. All right. So something else that you’ve been hinting at for a little while though, hinting may be a little bit too subtle. You are working on a, another project aside from Roll Play Grow, involving pet merchandise. What’s up with that?

Courtney: 

Yeah. What is up with that? Oh my gosh. So yes, that is something that I’ve been working on kind of off and on for…. I don’t actually even want to admit how long it’s been since we started talking about this, because I’m a little embarrassed that it has taken this long, but we’ll be truthful– a year ago. It has been a year since I made that first, like, Hmm. How does one make a dog collar? And yeah. So last year in February of 2021. I actually started going through a fair amount of health issues and it led me to stop work and essentially like go on disability for a very long time. The first few months were just trying to figure out what the heck is going on. And so it just, it took a while to get a diagnosis. And in that time, I went from working full-time, being in my second month of this podcast, being the leader of, or one of the leaders of Warcraft Radio, and just doing all of this stuff all the time, trying to run our business, trying to like contribute blog posts to Lightheart Adventures. I went from doing all of that to basically not even being able to sit up in bed and not having any idea why. And so it was hard. It really, really sucked. And it took about two months to get a diagnosis. And then once there was a diagnosis, it was okay. Now it’s time to try all of these different medications and all of this stuff. And it just led into a very long, 14 months of dealing with that. But I’m always, I have always been someone that is an achiever. One might even say an overachiever and I have a hard time saying no to anything. And so going from that to being able to do nothing was hard. And I was trying to figure out things that I could do that I enjoy doing to pass the time that would be like kind of lower effort and a way to let me be creative. So somehow the idea came that like, huh, you know, I’ve got this really amazing embroidery machine. I could start making like little dog bandanas and bow ties and maybe even collars. And so I found some patterns, I looked them up. I started practicing, you know, went to like Joanne’s and hobby lobby just to pick up a couple samples of straps and hardware and started just figuring it out. Then I turned to this guy Brenton to see if he would start designing some of the fabric for me. And to be fair, it wasn’t all me on why it’s taken this long. There was a little bit of you too, where it took a long time to get some of these designs drawn, but eventually we decided to launch with four patterns and figured out how to even make a fabric pattern. I found a website that I could upload the design to and then have it printed onto the fabric. And then started bringing in the fabric and started experimenting and just figuring out the sizes of everything that I wanted to do. I decided on four sizes of collars and bandanas, and then two sizes of bow ties and decided that I was going to start with 10 of every size of all four patterns. Which sounds like a super easy and achievable goal, but it wound up taking a lot longer than I’d expected it to. I was planning on launching in early fall of last year, kind of end of August, beginning of September. And then I got news that I was going to have to have surgery and then we scheduled it, and it was in October and I realized, I definitely don’t want to just launch and then go on hiatus like a month later. Let’s wait until after the surgery and after I get recovered. So I kept kind of ticking away at getting the merch that I wanted to launch with created. But again, health issues. It was just a lot more energy than I thought it was going to be. And just a little overwhelming. So then we have the surgery and I was finally starting to recover and I’m like, okay, I think I could finish making up this merch now. And then, you got a job that was going to be based in Seattle. And so instead, all of the effort went towards packing up the house and finding a place to live up in Seattle. So then we moved, and then it was just like, recovering from that and getting into the new routine and which part of my new routine was like, okay, finally going to finish this material that I’m launching with. But also now we have to figure out all of the business logistics, like moving our LLC from Oregon to Washington and oh, cool. Since we’re doing that, that means we need a new EIN number, which means we need a new bank account and just all of these like business logistics that we hadn’t really thought about yet. So I spent a lot of time trying to figure that out, but finally established as a Washington LLC. Now I’m just kind of doing the last double checking, verifying that there’s whether there’s anything else that we need since we’re in Washington, instead of Oregon. And yeah, I think I’m almost done with the legal stuff. So I think that that is about to be good to go, to be able to launch. And then I got a job. So yeah, I just finished my first month a new full-time job that I have, and it is awesome. I love my coworkers, but it’s again, I had finally gotten into this routine of like balancing the podcast and Lightheart itself and making all this pet merch and then now I’ve got a 40 hours job to fit into the mix. And so it was just kind of having to rearrange everything again. I am frustrated, frankly, at how long it has taken to be able to get to this point of launching, but I just want to be extra sure that once I do launch that I have the schedule built in, and that I’m comfortable with keeping up with inventory. Cause I don’t want to like have all of this inventory at launch and then it’s going to take me, you know, four months to be able to even start making more stuff because hopefully I’ll sell a lot of things. I hate how long it’s taken, but I’m just trying to be cautious in how I’m balancing my time and my mental health and my physical health and all that fun stuff.

Brenton: 

Yeah, because you definitely have a good backlog made up of, you know, all the different sizes and patterns and what have you. So if things do take off, you’re not going to get super rustled, or what have you trying to keep up with demand.

Courtney: 

Yeah. Cause it’s really just, it’s a lot of stuff to balance. I do a lot. Like I said, I’m an overachiever.

Brenton: 

And how! So with doing the pet merchandise what would you say some of the struggles that you’ve kind of run into?

Courtney: 

So in addition to just all of the legal stuff that you have to figure out with a small business that was digital only, and will now have actual product. Honestly, I’d say motivation at times has been a struggle, especially when it comes to cutting. I realized that bulk cutting fabric is not something I enjoy doing at all. Yeah. Trying to like figure out better strategies around that. So for example I actually commissioned Jess from Works of Whimsy Studios to create some templates for me, for the bandanas, because I had these like poster board templates that I was using. But I mean, after 160 bandanas, they were not quite accurate by any means anymore. And so I reached out to Jess to make some templates out of the, I think it’s called particle board that she uses in her studio. So that helped. We actually wound up trading. So I sent her a bunch of the extra small collars, and her cats are the models for those photos and they are adorable. I’ve just realized I don’t enjoy the cutting. So, you know, maybe one day that’s something that I can outsource, just focus on the sewing myself. But yeah, really outside of that, it’s just been, I guess, finding the motivation. There are some days where that’s all I want to do and I can do it for eight hours and then there’s other days where I need to work on it and I don’t necessarily want to, because I have a whole pile of other things to do. So, it’s just balance.

Brenton: 

It also doesn’t help when the sewing machine becomes very temperamental and destroys needles. Like no one’s business.

Courtney: 

Okay. Seriously? Yeah, no, now I’m gonna go on a tangent. So yeah, the collars are the one item that I have not finished making. And that is because my lovely embroidery machine is a pain in ass. With the collars, you’ve essentially got a piece of fabric that’s folded over through like four layers and webbing. And that is just wrapping the fabric around the webbing. And it goes all the way around so that it’s like sewn on all of the edges. And then you have to kind of fold it over itself. when putting hardware on. And so you get to points where there is double the thickness. So it’s already pretty thick. And then you gotta go double and a normal footer was just not gonna cut it. And so I learned about a walking footer, so I invested in a walking footer. And there’s one thing about this machine is, it is amazing. We won it in a raffle for 10 bucks and it was worth like $1,200. Like it’s really cool, but it’s old. It was a refurbished one.

Brenton: 

Like there’s not even YouTube videos of like tutorials. It’s it’s that old.

Courtney: 

Yeah. So all of this has been trying to figure it out based off of forum posts from like 2004. Like there’s no videos that exist for this machine and even the embroidery stuff. You need a CD drive on your computer in order to be able to use the embroidery stuff. And we don’t have those anymore, so that’s fun. So I got this walking footer that there was like one place I could find for this specific machine. And it works really well when it wants to, but oftentimes the needle will just like, I don’t know, like the needle will move a little bit or the footer itself will move a bit. And then instead of going like through the fabric, and you know, the stuff for the collar, the needle will instead just slam into the metal part of the footer. And I can’t figure out how to make it, not do that when it’s struggling so much with how thick this collar stuff is. And so I have broken so many freaking needles over the last few months. I might be able to get one or two collars done per needle. Like it’s ridiculous. And especially it does not like, it will not go backwards with the collars. So then you have to like manually turn the collar around so you can do your backstitch and stuff. And it’s just, oh my God. It’s been obnoxious. So that’s another reason why it has taken me way too long to make all of these collars and I’m kind of rethinking some things to make it a little bit easier.

Brenton: 

Like maybe a new sewing machine, but that’s down the line.

Courtney: 

You know, I got to sell all this product first and then we can buy a new sewing machine.

Brenton: 

That would be the first thing we do.

Courtney: 

That and an actual cutting mat that I can cut on. Cause the one that I have is cardboard. And I’m like, how useless is that? That’s fine.

Brenton: 

But I’m not bitter. Well, you’ve got so much on your plate, Courtney. It’s really impressive to hear you go over Roll Play Grow, the pet merch, everything you’ve done with Warcraft Radio and Lightheart Adventures. Looking back over the last like 15 months or so, what would you say has been the most challenging part of all of this?

Courtney: 

It’s my signature question! Yay!

Brenton: 

I worked it in.

Courtney: 

So what has been the most challenging part? I mean, I guess I’m going to focus on the podcast because I feel like that was the main point is like, this is a look back of 15 months and 50 episodes. Motivation is something that I’ve always had an interesting relationship with where it’s probably because I over-commit myself that I burn out, and I burn hard. And so, yeah, it’s all stuff that I love doing, but I get to a point where I just can’t that day. And then that day turns into that week. And then that can turn into that month. And it just takes a long time for me to find my way back to what it is that I am supposed to be doing. It took me a long time, I’d say, to find a good rhythm. And I think that, honestly, the only reason I got into that rhythm is because I had surgery planned and went okay. It’s going to be several months before I can do anything again. So I need to just sit down and bulk record and bulk edit and just get over the, oh, I’m tired today. Like, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to do this. And I mean, yeah, it was hard and I did not succeed as much as I wanted to because, for one thing, my surgery got moved up sooner, so I didn’t have as much time as I was supposed to. But then, you know, it was just also like, oh, I have 10 episodes. I need to go edit in the next five days. It didn’t happen. And that’s okay. But through that experience, I learned the value of bulk recording and bulk editing and giving my self, you know, a more intense weekend or a couple of days so that I can then just take a bit of a break for a few weeks and that will help me come back refreshed to that specific project. It’ll let me work on and focus and try to get ahead on the other projects. Like it’s just, it’s something I’ve kind of struggled with my whole life. So I’d say that that’s been one challenge with this podcast is just keeping the motivation alive. Cause I mean, it’s, it’s hard when you feel like you are shouting out into the void a lot of the times. You know, and you’re gonna always hear your favorite podcast series ask like, Hey, leave me a review. Tell me what you thought of the episode. And it’s because you know, we’re doing this like week after week and it’s only been in the last couple months that I’ve started to actually see reactions to my episodes. And so like those first 10, 12 months of getting this podcast out there, it was like, is anyone even listening to this? Like, is anyone even care what I’m doing? Am I actually doing a good job? Like, I don’t know. No one’s talking to me. So yeah, keeping the motivation alive when you’re not necessarily getting like external encouragement is definitely a challenge for me. And then another big one that I’ve feel like I have to continually get over is the fact that I’m not a salesperson. And so cold calls are something I have never enjoyed. And so even now, like reaching out to someone that I have zero connection with to say, hi, I’m Courtney. I have a podcast. Would you like to be on it? It’s still just like. I hate it. It’s hard. You know, I’ve, I’ve gotten better at it. I’ve got my spiel down to be something, and I think that having, you know, 50 episodes behind me now definitely helps because they can go check out my podcast. They can see who some of my other guests are and go, oh, okay, like this is legit. And, you know, decide if they like my interview style, if they listen to any of the episodes. So like it’s gotten better, but even now there’s just something about that. Like, oh, this person is like a big name in the industry and they’ve got, you know, X number of followers. I’m still this really small creator. There’s no way they’d want to talk to me. And like, it’s stupid because you know, like either they do or they don’t, but that has nothing to do with me. And I, that’s something that I have to just continuously remind myself of, and some days I do better at that than others.

Brenton: 

Yeah, there’s definitely that imposter syndrome feeling. When you feel like, again, you’re shouting into the void and you go stretches of episodes without any kind of feedback, but you know what, if we can make just one person happy or get that one little positive review that goes a long way. Hint, hint,

Courtney: 

Thanks, babe.

Brenton: 

I listened to all the episodes, so I can say that. So to flip the script, what would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of podcasts, pet merch, Lightheart Adventures, all that fun stuff.

Courtney: 

I’m going to say something that so many of my guests have said before, and it really is the community. And just getting to talk to all of these really cool people, whether they’ve been a guest or not, and we’ve just interacted on Twitter. It’s just been so awesome to find this group of people and make genuine friends that, you know, hopefully I’ll meet them one day in person. But it’s just, it’s been really awesome and really rewarding to not only meet the people and have them come on my show and make, you know, another podcast episode with just interviewing them, but then keeping that connection with them alive after the fact, and actually like interacting with things and, you know, having some of my old guests recommending new guests you know, there’s been a few times where I’ve posted that like, Hey, I’m looking for this type of creator to come onto my show because I’m trying (not) successfully, but I’m trying, it’s a balance, the types of creators that I bring on, so there’s a good variety and there’s something for everybody to find and listen to. So it’s been really cool when I’ve had, you know, someone that’s been a guest before has been like, oh, Hey, like friend, you should come and talk to her. She’s awesome. Like she makes you feel super comfortable and that’s just always like kind of a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Brenton: 

I can honestly say that before I started Lightheart Adventures, I had nothing or wanted nothing to do with Twitter. Courtney convinced me to make an account and I, met have met a lot of people through this the TTRPG community through that, and through what we’re doing. And honestly, I can say. I would be very excited to meet a lot of them in person if given the opportunity. And we have met some of them as well. And it’s been, it’s been incredible meeting with the community.

Courtney: 

Mhm. Yeah, definitely. One day we’ll go to a convention and meet more people.

Brenton: 

One day.

Courtney: 

One day.

Brenton: 

Maybe soon.

Courtney: 

I’m high risk. So all y’all not wearing masks: You’re not my friend

Brenton: 

Well, Courtney, are there any upcoming projects that you’re excited about or goals that you’re working towards? You know, stuff you can share?

Courtney: 

That we haven’t talked about? Cause I mean, a lot of it is I swear to God, this pet store is coming, so that’s a big one for sure. So outside of the podcast and the pet store, I am actually project managing a small TTRPG that’s being kickstarted towards the end of this year. So, you know, we definitely still got a ways, but that’s something I’m going to be talking about a lot more in the future. And I will frankly bring him on once it’s closer to the Kickstarter going live to discuss that that’s going to be an episode to talk about the game, but yeah, it’s just, it’s a small game. Cause it’s going to be the first one that he kickstarts. And then we’re going to take a lot of learnings from that and move on from there. But. It’s really cool. It is definitely gonna make ya think. You know, like I, I think it’s could potentially be one of the more like emotional TTRPGs that’s out there. And I think that it’s going to be something really special and what’s awesome is that we’re already approaching some people that I’ve had on as guests to help join the team. So right now, kind of three of us. But yeah, that’s something that’ll be growing throughout the year. And as I’m allowed to share more information about it, I will probably give you a little bit of a peek behind the process of, you know, what it’s like making a Kickstarter from a project management perspective.

Brenton: 

Well, I can’t wait to see more of that. Well, Courtney, I think that’s about all the time we have today. Where can people find you?

Courtney: 

You can find me on Twitter at either KetraRPG. So that is K E T R a R P G. Or you can find us on our business account at LightheartADV. You can find our website at lightheartadventures.com and that is where you will find all of the blog post and the podcast itself. Although you can, I mean, if you’re listening to this, you are probably already listening on your favorite podcast player of choice, but I would definitely appreciate if you would give me a follow and you know, maybe give us a review.

Brenton: 

Well, Courtney, thank you so much for having me have you on to interview you on this lovely day.

Courtney: 

Thank you for interviewing me on my show.

Brenton: 

We’ll do this again on episode a hundred.

Courtney: 

Yeah, probably.

Thanks for dropping by! We would love to know who would like us to interview, so please drop a comment here on the blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Discord to let us know who your favorite creators are! If you’d like access to more maps and content, including downloadable PDFs of our adventures, check out our Maps Patreon or Podcast Patreon. We’re able to do what we do because of all our amazing Patrons!

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