How Podcasters Make (More) Money Without Advertisers and Sponsors

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In this episode you will learn:

  • How I make money as a podcaster

  • How other podcasters make money

  • How you can start attracting people and potential clients through your podcast

Two years ago, my beloved mentor Dorie Clark and I had coffee near the financial district in New York City. I told her how my podcast was the trigger for creating my own business, Feisworld. I left my full-time job in advertising and began freelancing as a digital producer for companies and people. Many of them met me through the podcast as guests, friends of guests, and even listeners. 

Dorie urged me to write a blog post, and I came up with a name I was quite proud of called “How to Make a Living Without Counting the Downloads”. Within months, she interviewed me and captured the essence of my story and published it in Entrepreneurial You, her best-selling book on Amazon, and an article where many people found me and learned about my work on Harvard Business Review.

Shortly after my encounter with Dorie, I realized that I couldn’t possibly be the only lucky, independent, under-the-radar podcaster who’s benefited from having her own show. I published a question in my Facebook Group called altPodcasters a few weeks ago. Within a day, I received a series of comments from other podcasters who have done the same, often better than I have. 

I decided to write this blog post, record it as a podcast episode and share with you. It’s awesome to hear people’s stories and realize it could be anyone.

So why not you

Diego Barrazas has a podcast called DEMENTES (in Spanish). Since the launch of his show, he now has a long list of business engagements and funnels because of his podcast:

  • Produced podcasts for other people

  • Just started producing the podcast for a big company that has co-working spaces

  • Started selling courses on Teachable 

  • Sold tickets to Meetups, events, workshops and merchandize. 

  • Hired for speaking and consulting

Here are some of the unexpected outcomes as a result of running a podcast, as Diego pointed out:

  • He started a business with guest he did not know before. 

  • Many of his guests have been contacted by potential clients who heard about them on the show 

Andre runs a podcast called Octanage (in Portuguese), he told me:

  • One guest approached him to sponsor the podcast.

  • One guest invited him to work on her startup launching an AI toy.

  • On an Instagram Live in 2018, Andre interviewed the founder of a travel agency for pets. Two people of the audience asked a ton of questions, each of them flew 3 cats to destinations abroad. The guest closed $6k of business that day.

  • Several people signed up to be mentored by Andre just by listening to his very brief CTAs (call-to-actions) during the show.

In addition, Andre witnessed many partnerships sprouting from the podcast and social presence:

  • Digital courses

  • Giveaways

  • Invitations to consult in businesses

Andre’s key takeaways summarize the power of podcasting very well. He added “Attracting all these opportunities is a starting point; closing the deal and deliver quality products and services is another.” and" “Podcast is content marketing in the hands of the podcaster. Having clarity around this role / power, and how to properly use it as a lever, is something I keep learning everyday.”

Werner Puchert is the co-host on the Catching the Next Wave podcast. In the short span of running this podcast, his co-host received a design project and Werner was asked to be an paying MC at a 3-Day Conference. “It came out of the blue via a Facebook message” Werner told me.

One of the guests on my show, Margo Aaron introduced me to Ozan Varol, who was offered a book deal out of his podcast.

How do you start attracting people and potential clients through your podcast?

Sure, it alls sounds good that other people are making money, getting referrals from potential clients, but how do you start?

Turns out, you could learn a lot through your podcast. You can see how people engage with your podcast, and more specifically, different episodes within your podcast. In addition to your podcasting hosting platform, I highly recommend that you create a blog for your podcast. This way you have access and insights to how your podcast and website perform overtime.

Here are some cues you could use to identity your next call to action (CTA), guest article, blog post, eBook, course, service offering, etc.

  1. Your most popular content (consider looking at 3-5 episodes, blog posts you’ve published)

  2. You content that’s been referenced through outside sources (websites, blogs, even other podcasts, etc.)

  3. Questions, issue you raised that generated buzz among your audience (now and then)

  4. Comments you’ve received from people and pay attention to what they are saying

  5. When you feel stuck, check out Answer the Public and search for a topic related to your podcast, blog and business

Answer the Public is one of my go to websites for content inspirations.

For example, by searching for “podcaster”, you’ll receive a data visualization diagram that helps you navigate data and questions around the topic. The website also offers a CSV download if you’d like to analyze the information using excel or an equivalent software.

Using this graph as an example, you can see “how much podcaster make”, “how does podcaster make money” have come up a few times. These questions also happen to be the popular questions many people asked me in the past.

By noticing this trend, I wrote the eBook “How to Make a Living Without Counting the Downloads” and it remains to be the most popular content on Feisworld. “… without counting the downloads” is key differentiator because many prominent, world-famous podcasters have all bragged about advertising opportunities and sponsorships. These million-dollar offers are almost exclusively designed for the top 1% of the podcasters because big brands like to work with volume (volume of listeners, downloads, etc.)

When you create content, make sure you focus in on the niche you are, and what makes you different and unique. Then free your mind, write from the heart and do NOT criticize yourself while you write.

The second most popular content/course on this websiste is currently Reaching Billions. This course was developed during my visit in China in March 2018. I was surprised to find out that Ximalaya FM (the most popular podcast platform in China) has over 500 million users in China, compared to iTune’s total audience, which is only 250 million worldwide.

I began to research and then develop a course around helping non-Chinese speaking podcasters launch their shows on Ximalaya FM. This is a niche market and idea. Most podcasters in the western world haven’t though about approaching the Chinese market. Most of them assume the barrier is high, and that they most likely haven’t maximized the English podcasting market yet. The ones who do want to be the first ones to approach China’s 500-million listeners (aka “early adopters”) found my course and signed up immediately.

If you have any questions, or if you could like to share your own experience, success stories making money as a podcaster, please drop me a comment below. Thank you!