Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dave Couto, Owner of Sleepy Time Tales, located in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I have two businesses; one is Sleepy Time Tales. A podcast intended to help insomniacs get some rest by boring them to sleep. :) The other is an offshoot of this, Bright Vox Audio is me taking my experience editing my show to the public to do client work for other podcasters.
The audience for Sleepy Time Tales is any insomniac, but based on the demographic data I have, it seems to lean toward women in their early 20s to mid-30s. Bright Vox Audio is for anyone who wants a podcast but doesn't want to deal with the technical side.
Tell us about yourself
I started Sleepy Time Tales back in 2019. I've been a lifelong insomniac, and around then, I used to listen to podcasts at night and find myself falling asleep when I was trying to listen. I eventually started looking for podcasts to listen to at night that I'd be fine missing when I fell asleep. I discovered that there is a whole genre of podcasts intended to help people sleep, and I found a few that really helped me. When I recommended them to other people, though, they often didn't enjoy them due to the host's voices. And since I have a fairly deep, monotonous voice, I thought I'd give it a try.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business, Sleep Time Tales has been a slow burn. It's been something I do every week between my full-time job and taking care of my family. I've had a Patreon since day one, and it has been covering its costs and a bit more, but not much.
But podcasting is a bit of a lonely affair, especially when it's just you, so the biggest accomplishments I've felt have been receiving feedback from combat veterans and trauma survivors to hear how Sleepy Time Tales has helped them to take control of their sleep and get some normality in their lives.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing with Sleepy Time Tales has been maintaining consistency. Even outside of the usual importance of consistency in most enterprises, and podcasting especially, I feel an obligation to my listeners because I help them deal with the stresses of their lives. So I have to get an episode out.
There have been times when I've been sick, so I've recorded over an extended period to protect my throat or used some Patreon episodes as fillers. But I have never missed an episode. I left my full-time job recently to go full-time into Sleepy Time Tales and Bright Vox Audio, and the biggest challenge since then has been getting new editing clients for Bright Vox Audio.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find the balance between something you can enjoy and that there's a market for. It's important to enjoy what you do, and you have to be able to earn a living at it.
- Make sure you rest. When you start a business, you tend to throw your all into it, but if you're not careful, you'll burn yourself out. Give yourself office hours, and make sure you make time for your family.
- Find your passionate audience. Especially in a creative field, but it applies in others. Find the people who will love what you do and will evangelize your work. Don't seek the lowest common denominator.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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