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Meet Nikki Vergakes and Carly Lazarus of We Went There Podcast

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Vergakes and Carly Lazarus.

Nikki and Carly met in college amidst one of the most politically charged eras in U.S. history in a while. They instantly bonded over their love for similar pop culture antics and food, as well as their love for social justice. They ironically enough met at a meeting for their University’s Women’s Center. While attending the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Washington D.C., they lobbied on Capitol Hill. They celebrated with a few other friends over a happy hour ($1 margaritas, anyone?). In a giggly Lyft ride to the hotel, they said simultaneously… “we should start a podcast!” From then, it was history.

Nikki was about to graduate college, and Carly was a sophomore at the time. Nikki was graduating with a Communications degree, which can take someone down two paths – marketing and creating content for someone else, or making content for yourself. She knew that she had to take a job right out of school to have a stable income, but why couldn’t she create something, too? Meet the side hustle for this young professional and student – the We Went There Podcast. Carly is finding that she appreciates public relations and consistently producing a product more than she thought she did and she loves incorporating her love for the arts into the business.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Like most other things in life, it was not a smooth road. We both knew that going into it, however. We are both very entrepreneurial and creative, so we have been “creating” since birth. Nikki has had a blog since she was in high school, and Carly has been doing poetry almost her entire life and dabbles in theatre and photography. From our past efforts, we know that it takes a lot of investment – financial and time.

The hardest thing is finding the time to commit to it. We are young and either in school or just starting our career. When we have down time, we have to decide whether we want to dive into podcast admin tasks or just relax. Working for yourself can make having boundaries between work and life hard. Is everything we do together good content for the podcast? Are we just stretching for content?

We also put ourselves out there and tried to hire a summer intern. We had a great interview with a girl and experienced the “ghosting” phenomena that hiring managers are experiencing. We offered her the position and never heard back. We probably would have gotten a lot more done this summer had we had some help. With that being said we are very open to someone joining our team.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about We Went There Podcast – what should we know?
We Went There is an action-driven podcast that serves current events, deep dives into important topics with a side of pop culture scrutiny. Each episode, Nikki and Carly will start off with their segment “Big Question Little Question”, in which each host asks each other a deep question and a silly question. They then get into the main part of the episode. If they have a guest, they will discuss the guest’s background and current projects. If we don’t have a guest, there’s a dedicated topic for every episode. Past topics have been mental health, celebrities use social media, the immigration crisis, and body positivity.

The goal of every episode is to make sure that the listeners walk away from every episode with hands-on action items that they can employ to make the world a better place. We Went There will be released weekly on Tuesdays “wherever podcasts are found”. Season 1 wrapped in May 2018, and season 2 is set to launch in the fall of 2018. Our audience lives online. That’s the place where most media lives nowadays because it is convenient, and in the go-go-go world that our audience lives in, convenience is key.

Not only is our audience on their phone to read the newsletter and listen to podcasts, but they’re on social media. That’s why we’re on social media as well: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not only are we competing against these political comedy podcasts hosted by big names in politics and media in the “podcasts-sphere”, but we’re also competing against them on social media.

Listeners want to be informed, but in ways that deliver a softer blow. As the boys do on Pod Save America, or as Bryan Saffi and Erin Gibson do on Throwing Shade, the “bad” news is sprinkled in with comedy and hope – some jokes to make the hard situation a little lighter, and action items for listeners to get involved.

Many mainstream, traditional media news anchors are being exposed by #MeToo, such as Matt Lauer, so consumers are looking to non-traditional pundits to look up to. That’s why we use pictures, engaging captions, questions, video and sound bites to capture their attention. It’s all about creating an online community if you want to have a social media following. That’s why our presence is and will be very interactive.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
We owe everything to our friends and family. They have helped us creatively and emotionally with the podcast. They also support us by subscribing and listening.

We also owe the Podcast Garage in Allston for giving our digital business a home, and for teaching us how to actually do this.

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Image Credit:
Hannah Martin, lovehannahlee.com

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