“Nobody makes money from podcasting!”
“It is impossible to generate income from podcasting!”
I hear these statements, and others like them, all the time.
Recently, I was involved in a forum discussion where someone posted an idea they were considering for a music podcast that would include licensed music. The concept of paying for ASCAP, BMI, and other various licenses didn’t seem to sway him from his desire to pursue this concept with great passion.
Regardless of the amount of people who seemed to discourage his idea of pursuing, what seems to them as, a dead end road, this person did further research, evaluated the costs, and continued to remain positive and passionate about his pursuit of this project.
I was so impressed with his determination that I wrote…
Take it from someone who makes a pretty good amount of money from podcasting (Something that 99.9% of the people out there will tell you is not possible)……
What you wrote above is the type of DETERMINATION that it takes to find success in making a living from your passion.
Please keep us posted on where your journey takes you.
In response to this post, someone immediately posted….
Cliff, do you make your money from podcasting or from podcast consulting?
Here is what I wrote in response…
The answer to both questions is YES!
Last year, my business made JUST OVER $53,000 FROM PODCASTING ALONE last year.
Here’s the break down….
Commission Income is where I will mention a product or service in my podcast and people will use my affiliate link to purchase that product or service. When they do, I earn a commission as a result.
The people who create these products or services are not sponsors of our shows, I simply have an affiliate relationship with them. In 2010, my business generated $7,380.59 of income from recommending products and services within my podcasts.
Sponsorship income is where I have a contract with a company who believes in my podcast and I believe strongly in their business. These sponsors pay a flat fee per episode to be named as the sponsor of the show.
I DO NOT provide them stats on download numbers. Last year my business brought in $18,500 of income from podcast sponsors.
I only bring on a sponsor when I believe it will be a win/win/win situation. This means it must, “first,” be a win for my audience, it must, “second,” be a win for the sponsor, and “third,” it must be a win for my business.
I ask my sponsors to track the return on their investment on their end. This is typically done through the use of a promo code or trackable link.
One of my sponsors recently reported that the use of my promo code, from one of our shows, generated 266 Orders which resulted in $14,951.32 in sales, within a single month. I will not reveal the number of people who subscribe to this podcast. However, I can tell you that if I told you, you would be IN SHOCK!
Contributions From Listeners
As you can see, contributions from our podcast listeners brought in $27,201.70 in income to my business in 2010. From March of 2008 through December of 2010, we had set it up to where a majority of our podcasts had a free feed where anyone could get one or two episodes a month of every show for free.
However, most of our shows are recorded on a weekly basis. Those who wanted to gain access for every episode of every podcast that we produce, they could become a Plus Member for $10 per month. This is where the $27,201.70 came from.
JUST OVER $53,000 FROM PODCASTING ALONE
You can add those up and see why I have a hard time when someone says “NOBODY MAKES MONEY FROM PODCASTING, they only make money from promoting something else they do.”
This is why I DID NOT INCLUDE the $28,693.22 that my business generated from digital product and webinar sales. Though, my podcast is the primary way I market these products, I agree that I had to do something else, outside of just podcasting, to generate this income.
Major Note About Product Sales Income
I want to point out that the “Product Sales Income” report above DOES NOT include the EXPENSE SIDE of the equation.
You see, I did sell $53,926.67 in podcasting equipment in 2010. However, I had to pay my suppliers $45,257.87 of that income to actually pay for the equipment that I sold to my clients.
So if you do the math, you will see that I only generated $8,668.80 of income for my business from Equipment sales in 2010.
This brings the total amount of income generated by my business in 2010 to $132,030.70.
[UPDATE February 9, 2013] Please note that the $132,030.70 was BUSINESS INCOME for 2010. This week, I posted episode 295 where I shared my 2012 income numbers. In that episode I didn’t share the “business income” for 2012, which was $210,560.41. However, I did share was my PERSONAL INCOME was for 2012. If you are interested in seeing what I’ve been able to accomplish since this post, please click here.
Do you make your money from podcasting or from podcast consulting?
Yes, my business does generate a good deal of income from one on one consulting, group coaching courses, etc. But as you can see, I do, in fact, make a good deal of income directly from my podcasting efforts.
One More Note About Charging Money For Podcasts!
In 2010, my business generated just over $27,000 of income from people who paid to have access to all our podcasting content. In January of this year, we made the decision to give 100% of our podcast content away FOR FREE.
That’s right, I took something that generated $27,000+ of income directly from my podcasting efforts and decided that I was going to do something crazy and make the decision to give IT ALL AWAY FOR FREE! Want to know my what I was thinking when I making this decision? CLICK HERE to listen to episode 486 of Pursuing A Balanced Life.
For the first few months of 2011, we made more money from voluntary contributions than we did when we were actually requiring people to pay for full access to all our content.
As 2011 rolled on, I got so busy with my other business pursuits that I neglected to market the benefits of supporting the content and community of gspn.tv through voluntary Plus Membership. So there have been a handful of months where we had been bringing in about $300 to $400 a month less this year, than we were last year.
But then this came in.
I literally could sit here and write about this subject all day long. However, if you ever hear someone say “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to earn income from podcasting directly”, then feel free to point them to this post. The direct URL to this post is http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/income.
So Should We All Quit Our Jobs To Do Podcasting?
I am not going to tell anyone else what they should or should not do. We all have to take the responsibility for seeking out our true purpose and calling in life. For me, I knew that meant leaving my very successful career as an insurance agent in a family run insurance agency to pursue podcasting full-time as my career.
My full story can be found in this video:
I Am Not An Over Night Success Story!
I hope that those of you who might be impressed by all this talk of generating income from podcasting will watch the entire video I posted above. I think it is very important to express to you that I have been working at this for more than five years and I have put in WAY MORE THAN MALCOLM GLADWELL’S TEN THOUSAND HOURS of hard work to get to where I am today.
One of my favorite quotes about the “myth of the overnight sensation”comes from Jason Fried’s book “ReWork.” (Affiliate Link). In the book, Jason wrote…
You will not be a big hit right away. You will not get rich quick. You are not so special that everyone else will instantly pay attention. No one cares about you. At least not yet. Get used to it.
You know those overnight-success stories you’ve heard about? It’s not the whole story. Dig deeper and you’ll usually find people who have busted their (butts) for years to get into a position where things could take off. And on the rare occasion that instant success does come along, it usually doesn’t last. There’s no foundation there to support it.
Trade the dream of overnight success for slow, measured growth. It’s hard, but you have to be patient. You have to grind it out. You have to do it for a long time before the right people notice.
Should You Try To Make Money Directly From Your Podcasting?
This is not meant to encourage people to make money from their podcasting efforts. While I would argue that I “may have needed” to require the Plus Membership contributions for full access to my content for time that I did, I believe that I am better off giving it all away for free and producing content that people feel is so valuable that they are willing to support it.
I don’t have time to go into the complexity of handling a “donation / voluntary contribution” model of generating income from podcasts. I will simply say that if you are remotely considering this model. Don’t expect that income to start rolling in! Most people I see going this route end up sounding desperate and as if they are begging their audience for support. This is one of the worst things I think any podcaster can do. And trust me, I speak from personal experience!
I think there are other ways of generating income, from your podcasting efforts, that would work for a higher percentage of podcasters. Sponsorship is something that you can pursue if you have a niche focused podcast with a loyal audience that knows, likes, and trusts you. I would encourage you to consider purchasing my Passive Income Strategies For Podcasters Tutorial or my Webinars and Digital Products Workflow Tutorial.
I will agree that there are few people who are successful at generating income directly from their podcasting efforts. I would even argue that doing so may not be the best strategy. However, the main purpose of this post is to simply say that it is possible!
But then again, I believe that if someone is truly called to something and they have the Passion, Talent, Determination, Self Discipline, Faith, and Support of their spouse, if married, that just about anything is possible!