Jon of All Trades at 9: Pulling Back

(TL/DR: I’m not quitting this show. I’m just busy with a lot of other projects, so don’t expect updates on this site regularly, or all that frequently. There will sometimes be interviews and sometimes blog posts when I feel like it or need a no-stakes creative outlet. If you miss me, listen to Happy Friday. Also, if you’re into stories about professional journeys, here’s mine.)

Nine years I’ve been podcasting. I launched Jon of All Trades in 2014 about seven months before Grace was born because I knew I needed time to get good at it before she arrived and changed how my entire life functioned. If I didn’t, I knew I’d never do it because that’s how these things go. As Warren Miller used to say, “Do it this year. Because if you don’t, you’ll be at least one older when you do.” True. Or maybe you won’t do it at all.

I created this little thing on the margins of a very demanding corporate job until I was happily laid off just about a year after its launch. I think back on that year with astonishment because the workload was thoroughly insane – 40+ hours a week of grinding corporate drudgery + a weekly hour-long podcast + a new baby once I was about 35 episodes in – and it’s hard to put myself back in that mindset because all of those things are very intense.

Yet despite churning out all that content, getting media hits from Denver Business Journal, The Denver Post, 9News (who pimped the fuck out of my interview with Kyle Clark), and a small handful of others, winning Westword Readers’ Choice for Best Podcast in 2017, and improving my cold pitching game, I never considered myself a professional podcaster. That may seem a tad unreasonable, but I got bills to pay, and professionals get paid.

So it wasn’t until 2018 when things really changed when two things happened fairly close together. 1. I became the on-air producer for Vital for Colorado’s twice-monthly radio show/podcast. I was already booking and writing the entire show anyway, so when the original on-air producer left, I stepped in seamlessly. 2. I got my first honest-to-god paying gig making a new show for an actual, real company. Through the development process, that one became a thoroughly goofy 3-episode quasi-scripted mini-series about how good this company is at targeting consumers. You can find that one here, if you dare.

From there, I picked up a gig consulting on a show in late 2019, picked up another one in early 2020, and then helped shepherd two brand new shows into reality that I still work on today. Those shows were just about my only paying income for part of 2020.

Since then, I’ve picked up more and more work in this space through word-of-mouth, recommendations, and some fortuitous networking. I currently work on 9 shows, and am in the early stages of developing a 10th that I think everyone in Denver is going to be pretty psyched about. More on that much, much later.

The point is: I made it. My dream has come true. I am doing exactly what I want to do, and I could not be happier about it. I get to work with exceptional people, do creatively fulfilling work, get paid well for it, and have a huge degree of autonomy in how I do it. I couldn’t ask for more.

When I think back on those early days of Jon of All Trades, there were many, many times I wondered just what the fuck I was doing this for. The late nights, the monotonous grind of editing, the perpetual nightmare of booking a show with no off-season, and the time away from people I love and things I otherwise enjoy doing all weighed heavily on me frequently. But for reasons I can’t fully explain, I could never give this show up permanently. I always came back to it.

And now here I sit writing hundreds of words yet again fraught with trying to picture the future of this show. And here’s where we are. I will always have this show. I can’t envision folding it up for good. It’s too ingrained in my identity and its history and evolution mirrors my own. I owe so much of what I have professionally to Jon of All Trades. I persevered when I didn’t know why. I worked on it when I didn’t feel like it. I got rejected or ghosted more times than I can count. I asked to interview people who intimidated me, and then interviewed them anyway. I became a literal Jon of All Trades in my professional life, and love that as a result of doing this shit for 9 years can pride myself on being diligent, resourceful and unconventional.

But I’m also extremely fucking done nurturing this thing the way I used to. Jon of All Trades did for me what it needed to, and I’m thrilled to work on other projects now. I like that I don’t have this thing gnawing at my subconscious every hour of every day. I got plenty of other shit that fills that space now. Time to keep moving on.

With that said, I’m keeping this space around as my most treasured no-stakes creative outlet. So expect occasional silly blog posts like “Tales from MVT” or “Top 5 Fun Friday” and interviews. In fact, I’ve got one for you next week that you’re going to love featuring a young dude who’s going to do the most Colorado thing I’ve ever heard of.

Thanks for 9 years. I’ll still be around these parts, just not as much as before. If you miss me, listen to Happy Friday, one of the most fun things I get to do.

With infinite gratitude,

Jon of All Trades

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