“I accept the fact that I’m a nerd. I have a different point of view in the world than most other people,” said Jim Wilson, creator of Headset Radio.
“When I grew up I didn’t have all the things most people would have, and the stuff I did have wasn’t the greatest quality, so when things broke, I had to learn to fix them or replace them, and fixing was an easier option,” Jim recalled. In the process, he learned how things worked, how to improvise by using parts from something else, or to create new parts altogether. “I have a long list of things that I’ve broken. From tinkering with toys, to computer parts, to operating systems and the technical side of everything, to servers; there’s a long list of things that I have tinkered with, broken and fixed.”
Jim worked in the tech industry, which strengthened and sharpened his technical skills and ability to relate to other people. He worked in customer support, which required him to help people solve their problems over the phone, without the benefit of being able to see their problem or fix it himself; to direct non-technical people through complicated technical issues. Many times his co-workers would hand off the most difficult calls to Jim because he had the interest–perhaps even the need–to fix the problem and make customers happy. It became like a game to him, and he laughs as he recalls how patience and a good sense of humor improved those situations. “I love doing this kind of stuff!” he said. “It’s fun because I get to do stuff and teach people things. It’s fulfilling to teach someone something, and to see them learning. Every client I’ve worked with, I’ve taught them something new.”
Years of fixing broken things revealed to Jim that there were a lot of broken people too. And then Covid-19 hit and broke us all. “I know a handful of people who lost their jobs during Covid, and they took the opportunity to work on themselves. They took the time to figure out what and who they are, and how they want to be in life. For them, it was a blessing in disguise,” Jim said.
“Headset Radio came to be because of Covid,” Jim continued. “Covid gave me the opportunity to sit down and figure out what I wanted to do next.” When Covid started, Jim was traveling 23-24 days each month, wishing he could spend more time at home. “Then Covid hit, and we were not traveling any more. Suddenly I was at home, and I had time to figure out what I wanted to do,” he recalled. Kit McCarty was also wondering what she would do during the Covid lockdowns. She wanted to launch the Now I See podcast, but didn’t know how to do it. During their conversation, Jim said, “Podcasts are really interesting to me. Audio engineering is fun for me. I’ve worked on websites. Let’s collaborate!” The Now I See podcast launched, and so did Headset Radio. “I realized that there were more people in the same position as Kit. There was a ‘want’ to do something, but a lack of ‘know how’.” Jim reasoned, “I could do this. I can help, I can figure out next steps. So my partner and I formed Headset Radio to help people get their content out to the world.”
“I do all the audio engineering for our clients who want to do podcasts. I do all the backend creation design. I set up the websites, edit the blogs, set up the formatting, and research all the links,” Jim explained. His partner “makes things pretty”, by creating logos, artwork and ad copy, and helps with artistic design and layouts. “If you need technical help, if you need help getting your passion project off the ground, that’s what we like to do. Not everyone knows how to do that. The hardest part is getting yourself out there and getting started. If you have a question, hit us up and say ‘hi,’” Jim said. Even if it’s something he hasn’t thought about yet. “I like learning new things,” he said.
Some people cautioned Jim that starting a business in the pandemic could be risky, but Jim is not one to dwell on the negative. He said, “Just know if you do fail, it’s OK. You can pick yourself back up, brush yourself off and get back at it. The thing about failing, every master of something has failed a million times at whatever they were trying to do. Get up and get on to it, and keep going because that’s what helps you become the person you are going to become. If you fail, it’s OK. If you break something, it’s OK. If something goes wrong, it’s OK. It’s not the end of the world, and you can bounce back from it. You’re OK, and everything is going to work out. Failure is an option.”
Jim also points out, “It’s ok to not be ok. If you’re having issues, reach out. There are so many resources for people who need help. If you have an inkling that a friend is having issues, reach out to them.