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The Nitty Gritty

  • What inspired Sarah to launch Startup Pregnant (and how that concept pivoted from book to podcast)
  • Sarah’s strategy for securing sponsors before launching a podcast (hint: it’s all about knowing your target audience and what their pain points are)
  • What new resource Sarah’s working on to meet the precise needs of her community

Sarah Peck is a writer and the host of Startup Pregnant, a weekly podcast where she explores and reimagines what parenting, entrepreneurship, work, and motherhood looks like. Listen to this episode of What Works to hear more about Sarah’s journey in launching Startup Pregnant, plus her vision for the podcast and her body of work.

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Securing podcast sponsors before launching

“If somebody’s going to put dollars for advertising somewhere, they’re going to spend it on Google ads and Facebook ads because they’re better. But I can happily lose that game because what we’re looking for in sponsors is people who believe in the value and the mission of what we’re doing. They think that providing services for new moms isn’t just a business opportunity — it’s also worth doing in the world.” — Sarah Peck

At a bare minimum, Sarah needed enough to cover the costs of running the podcast — and while that didn’t mean she paid herself (at least not yet), she didn’t want to pay out of pocket to launch Startup Pregnant.

Luckily she didn’t need to. She asked four people who were already a part of her blog community and they all said yes to sponsoring the podcast. So what did it take for them to say yes, especially because the podcast wasn’t even launched yet?

It was all about the intended audience of the podcast: women entrepreneurs who might also be mothers and what might help make their lives easier. Sarah says they value things that save them time, save them money and also help them with efficiency… so services like Acuity and MeetEdgar are two sponsors that meet those needs.

Creating a wildly valuable resource that your audience needs

“Here’s what I made. Steal it. I’ve just saved you 25 hours of time and here are the negotiation scripts. It solves a really specific problem for people — but I hope it can also change people’s lives.” — Sarah Peck

What happens when you need to go on maternity leave… but you aren’t sure what the policy should be? Sarah’s target audience are entrepreneurial and working moms — specifically new moms — and this was a question she heard all. the. time.

She decided to put together an entire resource, dedicated to not only answering this question — but also providing policy language and negotiation scripts. “Look, you’re pregnant so you’re really tired,” Sarah says, “and you have limited time. You’re trying to finish your job and you’re trying to do a good job. Doing research is not easy.”

Think for a moment about the struggles and pain points that your audience might face. How can you offer something as specific and resourceful as this?

Letting your vision lead you… even when you don’t know where it’s heading

“It’s not easy for me to do but I’m trying to remain as open as possible to the fact that I might not even know what this is becoming yet.” — Sarah Peck

The truth of entrepreneurship is that everything is an experiment. The path isn’t laid out for you. You have to forge through, learning more about your customers, your product or service, and yourself along the way.

That’s certainly the case for Sarah as she grows Startup Pregnant. As she holds conversations with women around what it means to be a woman, work, and have babies, she admits that it feels similar to working through a two-year MBA.

But those conversations are leading to new product ideas, like courses and masterminds, as well as how to further help her community in specific, meaningful ways. “I’m building a sustainable business that’s the platform to the next business,” she says.

Hear more from Sarah Peck on her exact strategy for securing sponsors, how she meets the needs of her community, and where she’s headed in the future.

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