Stillwater native hosts a podcast centered around mental health.
“Really what it was inspired by was definitely personal experience when it comes to anxiety and depression,” Paige Boner says about the impetus for starting her podcast titled It’s Hard in 2019.
Before the It’s Hard podcast, Boner had been sharing some of her personal struggles through diaristic social media posts, although it wasn’t always easy.
“It felt very alarming to share something so vulnerable on social media,” Boner says, recalling those early social media posts where she would discuss a recent panic attack or past struggle.
Oftentimes the response from her peers was surprise – from the outside, Boner’s life seemed “perfect” to most, and many didn’t expect her to have experience with anxiety or depression.
“I realized the power in vulnerability and how it really connects people,” Boner says. “I wanted to then cultivate a community around that and dive a bit deeper into that through my own podcast.”
Podcasting certainly wasn’t an easy pivot from fashion merchandising, which is what Boner had been studying in school. While podcasting was certainly on the rise in 2019, there simply weren’t as many resources out there for how to get started at that time.
Boner ended up going to her friends from The Backpocket podcast, another Minnesota-based podcast, to pitch her idea to them.
“I just went to their house and asked them, ‘Hey, how do I do this?’ and, ‘Is my idea any good?’” After receiving a supportive response from the two more seasoned podcasters, Boner stopped by Best Buy for a $60 mic and began the daunting process of recording her first episode.
After starting with her own experiences, Boner realized that featuring other people’s stories in addition to her own would cultivate a broader community of listeners. “I knew that would widen my bandwidth and my audience so that other people could feel like they relate,” Boner says.
So, Boner continued to expand the scope of subjects tackled by her podcast, creating a network of connections as she went that ranged from acquaintances to mental health professionals.
“As you interview people, what really ends up happening is, if they have a good experience, just like any business, they’ll say, ‘Hey, I really think you would like this person,’” Boner says. “And then all of a sudden you’re introduced to 16 new people.”
Boner’s overarching goal with her podcast is to have authentic conversations with her guests, whether that entails personal stories or professional insights.
“I’ll prepare intentional questions but sometimes I won’t even get to those questions because we can just let the conversation flow really naturally, which is something I pride myself in,” Boner says. In a rapidly oversaturated market, this unscripted tone is something that sets the It’s Hard podcast apart from some of its peers.
Although podcasting has become an idealized pastime as of late, Boner notes that it can be, well, hard. “I think a lot of people when [they] see others doing podcasts or entrepreneurial stuff [they] think, ‘Oh my gosh, they must love it, it must be so perfect all the time,’ and it’s just not,” Boner says.
Creating a podcast on top of working a nine to five schedule has its challenges, from time management to negative self-comparison, but Boner says there are definitely experiences that make it all worthwhile.
“The most rewarding aspect hands down is the connection and the relationship that I get to have with people in our community and to see what things resonate with them,” Boner says, adding, “To hear on a daily basis what other people are gaining from the podcast has been wholeheartedly my favorite part and why I continue to do it every day.”
Listen to the It’s Hard podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also tune in at itshardpodcast.com