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Rachel Awtrey: Lessons Learned From 2 Million Podcast Downloads

APPLE PODCASTS | SPOTIFY Did you know the global number of podcast listeners is expected to reach over 504 million this year?  More and more small business owners are jumping on the podcast bandwagon (myself included!) but our latest guest has been at this since 2018 – and she’s got so many great insights to share. Rachel […]

Photo of Rachel Awtrey in front of coral background



Did you know the global number of podcast listeners is expected to reach over 504 million this year

More and more small business owners are jumping on the podcast bandwagon (myself included!) but our latest guest has been at this since 2018 – and she’s got so many great insights to share.

Rachel Awtrey is a mom of two, lifestyle blogger, and host of the Real Talk with Rachel Awtrey podcast. In this interview, Rachel shares how she turned her summer project into a full-time business and creative ways she’s learned to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

Press play for the full interview or keep reading below!

From Military Spouse to Podcast Host

When Rachel married her military pilot husband and settled in Birmingham, Alabama, she faced the same dilemma many military spouses do: how to find a career that gave her freedom and flexibility. 

“With all the things his career was asking of him, I tried to figure out what my career would like,” Rachel says. “I wanted to know, how can I make something that I can carry with me with little overhead?”

Rachel found there were limited opportunities for women in her position – so she decided to create her own.

Launching a Podcast

In 2018, Rachel launched a podcast with a friend as a fun summer project. They planned to do it for 8-10 weeks but over the next few months, their listenership exploded and suddenly they were being pitched big-name guests.

“No one had a podcast back then. It was me, crime junkies, and churches putting audio of their sermons online.”

About a year into the show (which was originally called Behind the Bliss), Rachel’s friend decided podcasting wasn’t for her. But Rachel stuck with it – and a little over five years later, the show has two million downloads.

Following the Vision

As anyone with a podcast knows, it’s a lot of work to produce weekly episodes. For the first few years, Rachel did all of the admin and editing herself. But she had a clear direction of where she was headed.

“I knew one day I wasn’t going to be doing it on my own. One day the podcasting industry would catch up and provide me with the people, opportunities, and systems that I didn’t have back then.”

And she was right – these days, Rachel has a team to support her and is able to focus on the parts of the business she loves.

The Power of Podcasting

Although the show has expanded onto more channels (including a blog, email newsletter, and text list), Rachel is forever grateful she started with a podcast.

“Sure, I’m not a celebrity and I haven’t written five books, but I have an audience that’s showed up every Wednesday for the last five years.” That trust has led to higher than average conversion rates.

Compared to social media followers, Rachel says her podcast listeners are big action takers. “They’re the girls that go for it. That listen in and do something with the content.” 

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

Despite the show’s success, Rachel still has doubts like any entrepreneur. “That’s why knowing your numbers is so important because your brain will lie, but numbers don’t. The numbers can tell you if something’s working or not working.” 

This is the same advice I give my students in The Blueprint Model – know your numbers! Especially if you have multiple revenue streams, know which ones make up the majority of your profit.

For Rachel, she has ad space, affiliate marketing, merchandise sales, and event tickets. Knowing which revenue streams are most profitable helps her prioritze where to spend her time.

The Value of an Outside Perspective

Another strategy that’s helped Rachel manage her imposter syndrome has been to lean on her team – especially her right-hand woman, Emily, who was originally a podcast listener. But if hiring help isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of creative ways to get a new perspective. 

In the early stages of the podcast, Rachel put together an advisory board of friends: people from different backgrounds who she trusted to give an honest opinion. Once a month, she met with the group to ask for their input on the direction of the show.

“They weren’t paid. They just showed up because they loved me and wanted the best for me. You need those people, especially if you’re an entrepreneur trying to wade these waters alone.”

Standing Out in a Saturated Market

Although Rachel is the first to admit that “everyone and their roommate has a podcast now”, she also points out the fact that most people don’t stick with it. “If you have more than 20 episodes, you sit in the top 1% of podcasts. If you’re consistent, you will outrun the rest.” 

The onset of new competition has only encouraged Rachel to step up her game. Her team has gotten creative, branching into SMS marketing and and unapologetically asking for what they need from sponsors. 

“With the confidence came opportunity. People believe you if you believe in you.” 

Now more than ever, Rachel invests time into building relationships with their brands, which has led to better retention rates and more return sponsorships.

Investing with Confidence

Like many entrepreneurs, Rachel started out extremely frugal and hesitant to invest in her business. But now she has the benefit of experience and seeing which investments pay off. 

Most recently, she’s signed a lease for a new office space (after realizing working from home with two little ones wasn’t ideal for productivity). Now Rachel is able to clock in and out everyday, and when she gets home she can focus on being present with her family.

“Investing helps me put more skin in the game. I would say if there’s a level-up opportunity that costs money, don’t be so fearful to approach it.” 

Do It The Way Only You Can

If Rachel could go back to 2018 when she was just starting her podcast journey, she would tell herself: “Take a deep breath and do it like only you can do it. There are a lot of podcasts out there…but the only way you can do it differently is by doing it your way and doing it excellently.”

To stay in touch with Rachel, text the word BESTIE to 55444 to sign up for the Real Talk text list.

More from this Episode

To hear the full story and more about Rachel Awtrey, press play on the player above for the full interview or click here to download the transcript.



Real Talk with Rachel Awtrey

Join Rachel’s February Friendship Challenge

Shop fun Merch!

Text BESTIE to 55444 to sign up for Rachel’s text list!

Photo of Rachel Awtrey in front of coral background

Rachel Awtrey

Rachel Awtrey is a trailblazing influencer and podcaster who defies conventional norms by inviting her audience to peek behind the curtain of her life. Rachel is a mom of two little boys, a military wife and after moving 8 times in her 7 years of marriage, she knows a thing or two about making community wherever she is!

With an unwavering commitment to transparency, Rachel shares her personal journey, triumphs, and challenges, breaking down barriers and inspiring others to embrace their own authentic selves. Through her empowering content, she provides a unique blend of encouragement and practical tips, empowering her followers to navigate life’s obstacles with resilience and grace.

In a culture that often encourages surface-level perfection, Rachel stands out by embracing vulnerability and embracing imperfections. Her refreshing approach creates a genuine connection with her audience, fostering a sense of community and reminding everyone that they are not alone in their struggles. With over 1.5 Million downloads, her chart-topping podcast, Real Talk with Rachel Awtrey (formerly Behind the Bliss Podcast) and social media platforms, Rachel is changing the game, dismantling societal expectations, and encouraging others to embrace their true selves while equipping them with valuable tools to thrive and find joy in every aspect of life.


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February 1, 2024

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