I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of resources that I enjoy and that I’ve used to build this “business”. Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Right now, I only produce one show a week. What are you supposed to listen to the rest of the time? I listen to a ton of audio books when driving. For a free trial of Audible.com click below:
Some of my favorite tri-related books include:
To support this website, use this link when you shop on Amazon and we get a few pennies per dollar. In fact, make it your bookmark!
Podcasting is really simple to get into. The barriers to entry are minimal and it might be a great way to grow your business or your personal brand, particularly if you are an athlete. By the way if you have game and are considering starting a podcast, talk with me about joining the TRS Radio network.
I use 2 Samson Q8 Professional Dynamic Vocal Microphones with a Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder for all of my in-person field interviews. Ira Blanco, a friend of the show, works for Samson and can help you pick a mic that fits your needs. He is great to work with. With just these 2 products, you can produce a wonderful sounding podcast that is better than 95% of the crap out there.
By the way, you need a good pair of headphones. I use the Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone because they’re pretty inexpensive and they’re used by 99% of radio stations and other recording professionals. You need to hear your own voice while you’re talking into the microphone and you need to monitor the levels both visually and audibly. I also provide my guest with their own headphones and the ability to adjust their own volume. To do this I use a Live Wire 4-Channel Headphone Amplifier. I use a Shure SM7B in my recording closet. It was recommended by Rich Roll and it’s a great microphone, but I’m not sure the quality is all that much better than the Samson I use in the field. Maybe a little. If you can afford it, it’s a favorite among serious broadcasters.
For interviews, most people uses skype and a call recording software. I tried Pamela and MP3 Call Recorder (both for PC) with some success and a lot of frustration. Mac users generally have good things to say about Call Recorder. Personally, I got fed up with my laptop crashing and I had several disasters that I blamed on the software. Therefore, I now record my skype calls into my Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder from a Mackie 1202VLZ4 12-Channel Compact Mixer. This mixer is great because I can play music and clips from my iPad and I can do 4-person interviews eventually. Samson makes great mixers as well, so talk with Ira if you’re in the market.
In order to make the skype caller sound better I use this BEHRINGER MULTICOM PRO-XL MDX4600 compressor/limiter/gate. Basically it keeps out some of the quieter annoying sounds and boosts the good sounds while leveling out the volumes.
Production and Hosting
I tried Soundcloud, but found the syncing to iTunes to be clunky. I do like their visual interface and I use it sometimes to embed clips onto the race recaps. It’s nice for social media because you can play the clips directly from twitter or facebook without visiting the soundcloud page.
I use Libsyn as my podcast host. You will have your show on iTunes quickly and easily and you get this free page as well. Plans start at $5 per month. I pay $30 and that get’s me enough storage for a 60-120 minute show every week. Mac has some great post-production tools like Garage Band and Pro Tools. I use Audacity. It’s free, easy to use, and there are a lot of great tutorials out there on the web. You can also use Audacity as your primary recording software.
Tutorials and Advice
Building a Website
Let me start by saying that I was born in 1977 and the only computer instruction I’ve ever received was in 5th and 6th grade and I learned some BASIC on a Apple 2GS. Prior to building my first website, the most similar thing I had ever done was creating a Facebook page. With that said, Squarespace is so easy to use, even an idiot like me can create a website in almost no time. If you’re a pro triathlete who needs nothing more than a blog, a gallery and a page to plug your sponsors, Squarespace is the way to go. My wife is a decade younger than me and far more tech savvy, and she uses Squarespace to host her site.
Eventually, I wanted to do more with my website and I needed help. I hired Aaron Webstey to help me create the new website, forum and fantasy triathlon league, and I outsourced some of the mindless copying and pasting to a Bangladeshi fella I found on ODesk. Now we have a much more robust and much more flexible WordPress platform that Aaron and I will continue to fine tune and improve over time. As you can see, he did an amazing job. He also whipped up a great plugin that allows me to recognize my top TRS Radio patrons. To get this plugin or to talk with the King of All Technology about any web or software development nees, visit Aaron’s website.
After a lot of research, I went with BlueHost because the rates are really reasonable, and I had read that the customer service was out of this world. In my experience, this has been true and then some. Because I didn’t know what I was doing, I had to make a lot of phone calls and the staff was really helpful and always polite. Plus you can install a WordPress theme with a single button.
Branding and Merchandising
Kong Screen Printing and Design
I use Kong Screen Printing and Design in Austin, TX for all of my casual tees and hats. They also handle my shipping and handling because I’m too lazy. Ryan also designed my initial cock-wheel logo. We use Big Cartel as our online storefront.
In me experience, merchandising is NOT a money maker. I’ve sold a lot of tees, hats, etc, but haven’t much at all. Why? Too much inventory. All of my profits are currently sitting on the shelves. My biggest mistake was offering too much variety. Many of my “great ideas” like the Gorilla tee and others failed miserably. I should have stuck with one or two designs and called it a day.
Tee shirts are the worst because it requires so many different sizes for both men and women. If you’re going to sell merch, sell hats or other one size fits all products. Also, don’t sell stickers or tattoos. Nobody wants them. The beauty of selling merchandise is the buzz it creates on social media and elsewhere. The hundreds of TRS tees and hats out act like walking billboards for my brand. I think it has helped me to appear like a bigger deal than I actually am.
Tor Naerheim Brand Design
I felt like my brand needed a little bit of color and I needed to gradually distance myself from the moniker that made me tri-famous. Today, what I do has nothing to do with Andrew Starykowicz and the name, The Real Starky, makes no sense if you’re just now discovering my website. I hired Tor Naerheim Brand Design to create a new logo and look for my brand. Together with Hans Bielat, Tor created TorHans, and as a brand designer he’s done creative work for huge global brands such as Audi, Disney, Halo and of course TRS Triathlon.
“TNBD employs a design-based strategy to formulate solutions for your brand. At the heart of every engagement is our Discovery, Observation, Evaluation, Recommendation and Implementation methodology. This process is used to help organizations identify opportunities and translate findings into actionable recommendations.”
In other words, you talk to Tor on the phone and tell him about tour vision. Then a few days later, he gives you exactly what you need. He doesn’t waste your time with 15 choices that all seem similar. He says, “this is what you need to do”, and he’s spot on.
Graphic Design by Always Curious
Always Curious doesn’t just make funny Photoshop images (although he’s very good at that). He’s also terrific with graphic design and creating banner ads. This banner to the left is an example. He also does all of the artwork for TRS Radio. Contact him via email for rates and availability: firstname.lastname@example.org