At one time or another, we all have endured a painful experience that we either let define us or challenge us to grow. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Melissa Diamond chose to turn her heartache into a new career opportunity with her podcast, He Said What. In her weekly episodes, Melissa sits down with a variety of guests to discuss all the confusing and taboo topics of dating. He Said What covers everything from flirting to love and everything in between, all with a humorous and unique perspective.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Melissa and talk all-things side hustles, women being heard in 2019, and not letting a relationship (or lack of) define you. The biggest thing we can all learn from this interview is to let go of fear and follow your passion.
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My first job was being a sales rep for a tech company. I always knew that my drive and tenacity for success would help me land a great career. I have always been hungry to make a lot of money in order to be able to fully financially support myself, so right out of college I looked into different sales roles where I could make large commissions (aka I needed money to move out of my parents’ house after graduating).
How did that job prepare you for podcasting? What skills have you taken with you?
Speaking to people for a living definitely has provided major insight when preparing to start my podcast. I believe that working in sales has taught me a lot about how to speak to different types of people with diverse personalities, and how to be fearless in asking some of the more hard-hitting questions. My career in sales has given me the ability to confidently have conversations and be able to make my guests feel comfortable opening up to me. Another skill that I have taken with me is having the ability to ask insightful questions. People that work in sales are naturally inquisitive. All sales reps need to be amazing in answering questions, but knowing what to ask is equally important which has been a translatable skill.
What inspired you to create your podcast?
I was dating someone for only a few months and completely lost myself in the relationship. He broke up with me out of the blue and it really hurt (like REALLY). I thought I had a good intuition on men and how to read them; I was clearly wrong. I had the sad realization that during the few months we were together, I forgot about the independent person I was before we met. I decided to channel my sadness and use it to create something for myself. I have always been a very curious person and I have always wanted my voice to be heard. After the confusion about the breakup, I would sit down and talk to my guy/girl friends about what they really thought when it comes to dating, relationships, breakups, etc., which led to the idea of starting He Said What.
I have always been a very curious person and I have always wanted my voice to be heard. After the confusion about the breakup, I would sit down and talk to my guy/girl friends about what they really thought when it comes to dating, relationships, breakups, etc.
I was keen to break down the barriers of topics we don’t discuss, but all think about when it comes to dating. After many conversations with a multitude of people, I realized that so many others also struggle with the confusing dating world we live in today. I knew that there was a much larger audience that also felt the same way and yearned to have the same questions answered.
Starting a brand-new podcast must be difficult. What were some of the challenges at the beginning?
Putting myself out there in a such a vulnerable way was very difficult at first. We all are human, and I was scared of what people would think about of podcast and of myself. When I started this podcast, I really thought I had thick skin; I always had thought that my entire life. I think it’s when you finally put yourself out there and get negative feedback it’s the true internal test of whether or not this is really what you are supposed to be doing. To be honest, I know that whatever someone else’s opinion of me is is none of my business. Those initial challenges were hard at first, but once I made the conscious decision that I would not let others judgment stop be from pursuing my passion, I was able to let that fear go and go after my dreams.
How did you build an initial audience?
Outside of my group of friends, I would ask my guests to promote their episodes on their social media channels, which was how I initially was able to attract listeners and grow my following.
Putting myself out there in a such a vulnerable way was very difficult at first. We all are human, and I was scared of what people would think about of podcast and of myself.
Entrepreneurial endeavors are so easy to give up on. How did you maintain belief in yourself?
I have always been the type of person who goes after what they want no matter what it takes. Working a 50-hour work week and then going home every day to work on the podcast during the evening was hard, and there were times I did question if I could do it all, but I was determined to prove to myself that I am capable of doing both successfully. I strongly believe that if there is something you are passionate about, you can’t give up on it, or you will always wonder what could have happened.
What kind of equipment is required for a podcast?
For a podcast you need two microphones, headphones, a computer, and recording and mixing software.
What does your typical recording and posting schedule look like?
My episodes come out every Monday! I typically record 2-3 episodes after work every week.
Have you found a sense of community among podcast creators? Why is this important?
Definitely. That was one of the main reasons I signed with Dear Media. Their main focus is empowering and they provide a platform for strong female voices and stories to be heard. I have met and worked with so many incredible women who are also signed to Dear Media, and having each other’s support is so important. We are a community, but even more so, we are a family — we are all rooting for one another.
What is it like to be a woman with this kind of platform in media?
Being a woman with this kind of platform in media is one of the most empowering feelings. I think it’s more than fair to say as a woman in 2019, it is our time to be heard. If I can impact one persons’ life that is a listener and make them feel happy, or that they can relate to someone, or gain some knowledge, or take their mind off whatever the hell they are going through, that is what my goal is. Knowing that I have the ability to help our voices be heard gives my podcast such a deeper meaning.
Being a woman with this kind of platform in media is one of the most empowering feelings. I think it’s more than fair to say as a woman in 2019, it is our time to be heard.
In what ways does your podcast offer listeners a unique experience?
He Said What strikes a perfect balance of funny and serious, and really makes for an enjoying listen whether you’re single, dating, or in a relationship. Every guest provides a unique perspective into dating and how to do it successfully. Each week listeners can submit questions and they are answered on the following weeks episode. I want every listener to know they are being heard.
You’ve had an impressive guest list! How do you attain your guests?
Being a fearless networker (which I also attribute to working in sales). I send emails, reach out via social media — whatever it takes to grab someone’s attention!
Who has been your most interesting guest, and what did they have to share?
All of my guests proved such interesting perspectives, but I would say Melissa Ambrosini left me with the biggest takeaways. We discussed being how to be kind to yourself, not needing another person to complete you, how to let go of the past, and most importantly, how to live the life YOU want. She provided such incredible lessons that I have instilled in my everyday life.
What discoveries have you made about yourself while hosting a show that involves so much self-reflection?
Through this process and through speaking with different people, I am having a lot of “ah-ha” moments. Like, OMG that happened to me and I totally glazed over it. I am realizing a lot about trends that have happened in my life, or that men that have done specific things to me and am really understanding how those experiences have shaped me as a person. I have learned that at the end of the day, the only person you truly need is yourself. Dating is wonderful and exciting, but another person does not make or break you as a person. I was totally naive. My mind really has just completely opened once since starting He Said What. I was stuck in a certain mentality, and this has really just opened my mind completely to areas that I never would have spoken about before.
Where would you like to see your podcast go from here?
I would love to start hosting live podcast events, write a book, and continue to reach new audiences with radio and TV.
I am realizing a lot about trends that have happened in my life, or that men that have done specific things to me and am really understanding how those experiences have shaped me as a person.
What advice do you have for other women hoping to get into the podcast space?
DO IT! Run after your dreams. It is so important to follow your passions. While it may feel scary to put yourself out there, all you have is one shot at life. You don’t want to look back in 50 years and say, “I wish I did that!” There is no time like the present. Guess what? If it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t define you as a person. Who knows where my podcast will be five years down the line, but I know that right now I am happy with it.
You should never hesitate to pursue a dream, no matter how big or small it is. Trust your gut. If it isn’t making you happy, you can always stop. Be fearless and believe in yourself — everyone has a voice that needs to be heard.
What advice would you give to your younger, (perhaps heartbroken) self?
I would tell myself to listen to “Vienna” by Billy Joel and to pay attention to the lyrics. I would tell myself that your past does not define you. Life is hard but short, so don’t take things too seriously. You do not need another person to make you happy; you need to learn to love yourself and put yourself first. Never accept anything but the best, and most importantly, trust your gut.
Melissa Diamond is The Everygirl…
Favorite time to podcast?
Best way to end the day?
Listening to some old records.
Last book you read?
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Best brunch spot in your city?
Estela or Sadelle’s (Cannot pick one)
Go-to beauty product?
Benefit BadGal Lash Mascara
If you could have lunch with one woman, who would it be and why?
Stevie Nicks. I grew up listening to her music and it has always spoken to me on a deep level. She is the definition of a fearless and driven woman who can do it all.