324 Podcasting As An Occupation? How Long Before My Podcast Will Start Generating Income? My Thoughts On This And More!

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 6, 2013

cashsnShow Me The Money! (Topic starts at 00:03:44)
There are times when I feel like Jerry Maguire in this scene from the movie (WARNING: Strong language in clip). Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration. The fact is that I have made it a point to not yet enter into a relationship where clients are expecting me to “show them the money.”

I’ve stopped counting the number of times that folks have come to me, expecting me to teach them how to turn their podcast into their full-time career or how to create a podcast that will begin providing them a significant income. The common theme among all these requests has been that these individuals see their podcast as “a product” or “a service” and that they can turn their podcast into a lucrative business.

One person sent me an email asking, “Does a well-done, interesting daily financial podcast have the potential to generate perhaps $3k per month of income within 12 to 24 months if I hammer it and work my butt off on it?”

Another person, who was thinking about signing up for my Podcasting A to Z course, asked “What the payback period is for the investment in your course?  On average, how long does it take for your students to earn their investment back?”

Yet another person wrote to tell me, “I’ve lost my job. So naturally, I want to figure out a way to make the podcast and my youtube channel more lucrative and make it my occupation.”

Please understand that I do believe that it is possible to generate income directly from your podcasting efforts. In fact, I did a lengthy blog post back in August 2011 where I shared some very personal details about how much income I was generating from my own podcasting efforts. You can read that post by clicking here.

I also gave a one hour presentation at BlogWorld LA 2011 (Now known as New Media Expo), titled “Proven Strategies For Generating Serious Income From Your Podcasting Efforts. I’ll post it below.

As you can see, I do not shy away from the topic of monetization and I have no issues with folks generating income directly from their podcasts. However, in this episode, I share some pretty strong feelings on putting too much pressure on your podcast to directly generate income.

I do not believe that a podcast should be looked at as a business or a career. Are there exceptions to this? Yep! However, I have found it easier to succeed when you actually develop a genuine business where you offer products and/or services that provide value to your target audience. As people come to know, like and trust you, they can then make a decision to purchase your products and/or services, or the products and services of those you recommend.

I do directly generate a few thousand dollars a month from sponsorship of a few podcasts and from affiliate commissions that I earn from recommending products and services in my podcast. Only a very small percentage of my income, however, is generated in this way. I want to point out that I’ve been podcasting since 2005 and have produced more than 3,100 podcast episodes and have a following that is in the hundreds of thousands of people at this point in my journey. This is not something I built within 12 to 18 months.

Even today, I do not see any of my podcasts as my “business.” Instead, I have a business model that is made of of many different streams of income from many different products and services that I offer. Here are a few things that I do that generate income for my actual business.

– Coaching & Consulting, Including Podcasting A to Z.
– Facilitating The Podcast Mastermind which I founded in March 2012.
– Equipment sales made at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/equipment.
– Video Training Tutorial Sales made at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/products.
– A referral network where I earn commission on referring clients for podcast artwork, one-on-one consulting, etc.
– Public Speaking. I started out speaking for free. However, I am now paid well to speak at events.
– Joint venture projects where I partner with friends on one off projects.
– Affiliate sales – Where I recommend products and services that I trust and earn a commission.
– Webinars – High value online training events that meet the needs of my community.
– And very soon, I plan to start doing my own live events and conferences.

I am extremely blessed to have a business that does provide me with a rather nice six figure income each year. There is no question that my podcast is responsible for generating a majority of the sales in my business. However, it’s not the the only thing that generates sales. I do a significant amount of marketing and relationship building through social networks, face to face networking at conferences, speaking a conferences, etc.

Also, I want to point out that I still work approximately 10 to 12 hours a day, a minimum of five days a week, this includes several hours each week spent studying on how to improve my sales and marketing efforts. If I am preparing to go out of town or just returning from a trip, you will often find me working 12 to 14 hours a day all seven days of the week. However, When you love what you do, it’s really not that bad to work from 5am to 5pm (or 8pm) every day.

So if you ask me to “show you the money” in podcasting, I’ll simply point you back to this post and ask you to listen to this episode to hear my thoughts on this subject.

Other Topics Covered In This Episode
– New Media Expo Promo (00:36:25)
– Does replacing a file on Libsyn create a duplicate episode in iTunes? (00:41:13)
– How can I keep track of my stats if I use a single Libsyn account for more than one show? (00:49:08)
– What software do you recommend for recording Skype Calls? (00:54:09)

Links mentioned In This Episode
Download The New Media Expo Promo
Audio Branding from Music Radio Creative
Check out the Veronica Mars Fan Podcast
Episode 241 about more than one podcast with Libsyn
Pamela For Recording Skype on Windows
Call Record For Recording Skype on a Mac

Podcasting A to Z
Do you want to learn how to podcast but don’t know where to start? Podcasting A to Z is a four week online training course that walks you through each step in the process of setting up a podcast. You not only get step-by-step tutorials, but you also have the ability to get answers to all your questions during the four week session.

If you have been thinking about starting a podcast, this is the course for you. Just head over to http://PodcastingAtoZ.com for full details. I look forward to potentially working with you.

The Podcast Mastermind
Are you a podcaster?
Are you self-employed or desire to be?
Are you willing to invest in your future success?
Have you heard about The Podcast Mastermind organization?

The Podcast Mastermind is focused on the personal and professional growth of it’s members. Find out more at PodcastMastermind.com!

Upcoming Event Schedule
220calOne of my favorite things about traveling to, and speaking at conferences, is meeting members of my community. I always make it a point to host a community meetup wherever I travel.

Below is a list of events that you might be interested in. If you can make it to any of these events, I’d love to have the opportunity to meet you. If you are not able to attend the event, but are in that area, I’d still love for you to come to the personal community meetup that I will host in that town.

Platform Conference
November 3-5 – Dallas, TX
Conference Link – http://PlatformConference.tv
Affiliate Info: Use promo code “Cliff” to save $100 on registration!

New Media Expo
January 4-6, 2014 – Las Vegas, NV
Conference Link – http://NewMediaExpo.com

Exclusive Audio Branding Package Opportunity
I want to remind you that I have an exclusive audio branding package through Music Radio Creative that is only available to the Podcast Answer Man community. For only $449, you will get the following:

  • A one hour 1-to-1 web meeting with Mike and/or Izabella to discuss your podcast’s exact audio needs and help design your audio brand.
  • An amazing podcast intro with an introduction to your podcast and music bed.
  • An exciting podcast outro with music and a call to action of your choice.
  • Three jingles/bumpers that you can use to transition between segments, mention your website address, introduce interviews, features and more.
  • Complete script writing service for all of your audio products.

I encourage you to check out the commercial below and then click here to schedule your audio branding consultation today.

Shop With B&H Photo & Support Podcast Answer Man
I am thrilled about the relationship that I have formed with the folks at B&H Photo, Video, & Pro Audio. They have amazing prices on podcast equipment and so much more. Best of all, their customer service is almost as good as my own.

When placing an order through my affiliate link, you end up paying the same low price and I earn a generous commission. If you have used my affiliate link to make a purchase with B&H, please leave me a comment with your name and a link to your website in the comments section below.

Blue Host Affiliate Signup
BlueHostI want to send out a special word of thanks to the folks behind the following domains that were used to create a new hosting account with BlueHost with my Blue Host affiliate link recently. As you know, I earn a commission each time someone clicks through my link to sign up with Blue Host. So thank you!

Accounts that were created recently:


Note: The fact that I have linked to these accounts is only to acknowledge that these folks have used my affiliate link to create a hosting account with BlueHost. These links are not an endorsement of any content that may be posted to these sites. If you ever recognize content blatantly offensive at any of these links, please let me know and I will be sure to evaluate and consider if the link should be removed from this post. These accounts are all brand new and may not be active yet. Also, it is possible that some of these domains were previously owned and may not have been transferred to BlueHost just yet.

Free Month of Media Hosting With Libsyn!
Because of all the years of sending clients to sign up for accounts with Libsyn, they have created an affilate program only given to a hand selected group of podcasting experts. I’m delighted that I am now able to offer your ONE MONTH FREE when you sign up for a new account with Libsyn. Simply use promo code GSPN when you sign up! For my complete thoughts on podcast hosting, click here.

Podcast Video Tutorials:
I have a growing list of video tutorials that I have created based up on the the top things my clients have hired me to help them with. See the full list of tutorials by clicking here.

I Appreciate Your iTunes Reviews!
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  • This is a great post, Cliff. I’m also going to refer people to this episode show notes in the future. I’m an attorney, and I’ve found that there are two big values to doing a podcast (I’m sure there are many more than that, but in my case, 2 stand out.).  #1 I use it to connect with interesting entrepreneurs who I want to get to know. I co-wrote a piece in Forbes in which I quoted you which talked about this strategy. Secondly, it’s a great way for people in my network to get to know, like and trust me (exactly as you suggested above). Almost every day I get an email from someone who says they were listening to my podcast and enjoying it, and in many cases I had no idea they were listening. Some of these people turn into clients, and I have no doubt they wouldn’t have become a client if I hadn’t been putting out content in the form of a podcast for them to listen to at their leisure. 

    Thanks again for the great post!

  • jhcorcoran Thanks, in advance, for sending people to this post and this episode.  I am so thrilled that I finally got my thoughts out on this topic so that I can start sending people here myself.  I appreciate your feedback!  I wish you continued success in all that you do!

  • Cliff Ravenscraft   this episode is without a shadow of a doubt one of your best pieces of work.  
    My most profound take way from this episode is that you patiently learned and mastered the art of creating content and building relationships. 
    To me, being a remarkable content producer is a art form  and require that you have the deep rooted heart for the craft.

  • akaTGIF  Thanks Byron.  This is a topic that I’ve been pretty passionate about for quite some time.  So glad that I finally felt led to put my thoughts into a podcast episode about it. 😉

  • rusbooz1

    Cliff – This is truly one of your best podcasts. The thing that made me chuckle the most was the fact that you seemed to want to say “No” you can’t make money with your podcast, but you just never did. I’ll go back and listen again, but I felt some hesitation in your voice.
    I think it’s OK to say, “no you can’t”, because even if you don’t— it’s the best platform to build community and then it will lead to revenue in other ways.
    Great work
    – Rusty

  • rusbooz1 So thrilled that you enjoyed this episode.  Actually, I did say, more than once, that you “CAN” generate income directly from your podcast and that you “CAN” make a podcast a full-time career/occupation.
    However, my point is that to do this requires a lot of very rare circumstances and it’s not the most practical approach to podcasting.  Also, since, I have never turned any single podcast into my own “full-time occupation” without having to do A LOT OF WORK outside of simply recording podcast episodes, I simply don’t have any secret formula to hand to people to accomplish this.
    There are so many people out there who want to be able to create a podcast or two and have it so that their show prep, recording time, and post production are the only things that they have to do to generate their full-time income.  I do know a few people that have done this and that can pull it off.  Yet, out of all those people, I have not seen a formula that could be duplicated.

  • This is an interesting topic.  When I recently launched the http://www.chasingproduct.com podcast (I’m being so spammy today, sorry Cliff!) not once did I even consider the idea that my podcast would, itself, generate revenue.
    That said, I absolutely looked at it as a gateway to revenue-generating endeavors.  For starters, I’m in the process of building a software product that I intend to launch soon.  I promote it on the podcast.  I also do consulting and custom web app design & development.  I mention that on the podcast.  
    I figured very early on that a podcast is a credibility-builder; the podcast itself won’t earn me income, but the gigs that my credibility gets me will.  And my credibility is delivered via the podcast.
    That said, if anyone ever feels like cutting me a fat check to talk into a microphone all day, I’m 100% on board!

  • davedufour

    The term I don’t think you mention in here, and it’s truly what you’re talking about, is “public relations.”  You basically are using this podcast and others as PR for your other businesses.  There’s really not much difference between this and what we think of as classic PR..  Before the net, companies published informational booklets, books, etc., that weren’t all product sell, but helpful information about how to USE the product. Recipe books published by food companies, health info produced by Miles Labs (former makers of Alka Seltzer, etc.).  Infomercials are sort of a cross between PR and flat out advertising.  
    For some reason, we don’t think of podcasts as PR..  Sure, some people will make money with just the podcast, but look at most of the folks you associate with at the conferences — they’re using it as part of their marketing communications — the public relations part.  (Pretty cheap PR, by the way, all things considered.)

  • davedufour Absolutely.  I don’t know why I couldn’t’ think of the term.  But yes,  it is very PR. 🙂

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