How two midlife empty nesters became podcast hosts, as much as a surprise to them as anyone!
It was a fateful meeting the night I put the bins out on a dark November evening, having just moved to a new house, when Liz walked by and said hello. Delighted to see a friendly face I told her I always had a teabag or bottle of wine ready for visitors… and a friendship began.
We discovered we were both in the same stage of life. Our kids had either moved out or were about to and we were re-evaluating our lives as empty nesters, feeling mixed emotions.
And then covid hit.
Liz Copping & Michelle Ford
Hosts of Two Women Chatting
As rules were relaxed and we could meet outside or socially distanced we found we got along really well, laughing a LOT and eager to find new purpose in our lives. We considered starting a business, perhaps along the lines of business networking but it was eventually our kids at a garden ‘focus’ group we dragged them into, that suggested we start a podcast as our conversations seemed to have us all in stitches.
Enter stage right, two midlife women with no podcast experience, no celebrity connections but a whole lot of ideas.
We named our company Lifestyle Lounge as the name was free at Companies House but, rule number one, do a thorough google search as we eventually found out it was also the name of a swingers club in LA! Too late for us unfortunately so that’s stuck but we realised Two Women Chatting was a far better podcast name and, as they say, does exactly what it says on the tin!
So began a steep learning curve of website design, multi-track recording, talent booking, graphic design, SEO understanding and so much more. If it’s your dream to start a podcast, consider how long you think it might take you - and then double it.
We did a lot wrong including not listening to our gut and going with suggestions we weren’t comfortable with, we misjudged how much time it took and, how embarrassing is this and never to be repeated, forgot to press record on one particular guest! Fortunately they were kind enough to do another date with us.
But as we became more comfortable and confident, booked more household names like Anthea Turner, Claire Sweeney, Angie Best, Judy Murray and, our greatest to date, Dame Judi Dench, listened to ourselves and, importantly, believed in ourselves we settled in for the long term and embraced stepping outside our comfort zone. To be fair, I’d had plenty of experience on a mic as a voice actor but reading scripts and audiobooks is entirely different to interview skills, especially when your knees are knocking under the table interviewing a big celebrity! Liz, with zero mic experience, was timid and somewhat stiff to begin with but has grown exponentially into an active participant who really enjoys the interviews as much as I do. We found that our skillsets really complemented each other and we found our groove.
So, where are now? We’ve just released our 50th episode nearly two years into this journey. We put our foot down and insisted on some healthy breaks between seasons rather than producing weekly content throughout the year. We’re really proud of staying the course as 90% of podcasts don’t get past episode 3 and out of 3-4 million podcasts globally only 720K are active/survive.
We’re now downloaded in 89 countries from Angola to Zimbabwe, have a monthly column in a local magazine and have lined up incredible guests for our next season, including Andrea McLean, Louise Minchin and Sally Gunnell.
Contact us if you would like content or comments on our specialist subjects which are midlife, empty nesting, parenting, reinvention, career changes or having a bad day!
Meet the faces behind the podcast
Michelle has lived a nomadic life with her husband of 30 years and three kids, relocating from the UK to the USA, to Singapore and now back in Blighty. Voice acting for nearly 20 years, she has narrated audiobooks, commercials and voice projects for international clients as she moved her booth around the world.
Michelle is now pressing the reset button as an empty nester and enjoying a new career in podcasting. This podcast has pushed her to try new things, learn to say 'no' when she wants but also to say 'yes' to pushing outside her comfort zone. She’s convinced that she lost all her ‘filters’ at 50 and is loving the freedom that brings!
Liz started her career in events by accident. Having studied for a degree in Ancient History & Archaeology she soon realised she was not cut out for life as an archaeologist when her dreams of working in exotic locations were dashed by being sent to a wet windy Wales in the middle of January.
Moving to London she somehow secured a job in an aviation publishing house and being bold or naïve, depending on how you look at it, soon launched an international event & publishing business with her future husband.
Fast forward to present day, with four children, two dogs, and the business successfully sold, she enjoys nothing more than delving into the internet in pursuit of fascinating subjects for our podcast. Who knew that SEO would become such a playground! Proving that we can all step up and do something different in midlife!