Nowadays, everyone has a side hustle whether it’s delivering food, starting a blog or a YouTube channel, tutoring, freelancing, car rental, and on and on. Podcasting usually starts off as one of these side hustles for most people! You can typically start a podcast while holding down a job at the same time, therefore justifying the time and effort you put into your hobby.
The most common piece of advice that professionals give newcomers to these gigs is that you should at least enjoy doing it, and not do it solely for the money. But once you are lucky enough that your podcast is generating some money, how can you bridge the gap between a profitable hobby and an endeavor so lucrative that it becomes your main income? Here are some tips to point you in the right direction.
In any creative field of work, a collaboration between two creators is almost guaranteed to boost both of their audiences. The people that are looking to see your guest will have to be exposed to your podcast, which means that some of them may decide to stick around! The back-and-forth banter between you and your guest is also free entertainment material for your audience, since you won’t have to speak all by yourself the entire time. Inviting guests is a smart move if you want to grow your audience.
This might seem counterintuitive to some, but putting out as many episodes as you can is not smart. You’re spamming your audience with episodes that are almost guaranteed to not be of great quality. Your podcasting platform will also not appreciate the spam. As wiredclip.com puts it, it can be rather difficult to find the right podcasting platform to host your episodes. You don’t want to overload them with a ton of poorly-performing episodes.
Quality over quantity. This holds especially true in the early days of your podcasting career, when you should be focusing your time and resources on making a few really good episodes that will hold listeners’ attention.
A lot of creators are using Patreon to support themselves due to the way it’s set up. Patreon allows you to collect a steady monthly income, so that you can focus on other aspects of your podcast. You can monetize your podcast by having different monthly subscription options, or “tiers”. You can offer more benefits and exclusive content to higher-paying patrons, giving them an incentive to pay.
However, it’s equally important to have an affordable, low tier with good benefits that most people can afford. It’s a lot easier to convince 20 people to pay you $1 a month than it is to convince one person to pay you $20 a month, so don’t only cater to the highest-paying patrons. Some ideas for benefits you could offer are merchandise discounts, longer podcast episodes exclusive only to patrons, early access to new episodes, etc.
If you listen to podcasts yourself, you’ve definitely come across ads that are incorporated into the episode. Taking sponsorships is one of the most straightforward ways to make money podcasting. Your sponsorships don’t have to be hamfisted into the episode and disrupt the whole flow. There are definitely ways to cleverly incorporate them into your podcast, one of them being to take sponsorships that are relevant to what you’re talking about. This isn’t always possible, but it’s a good rule of thumb.
Physical products, like mugs or t-shirts, can be very profitable if you put some thought into creating them. You don’t have to come up with some especially elaborate designs. Simple but aesthetically pleasing designs are just as effective. If your listeners want to show support, they’ll do it by buying some merch.
You can become a consultant for any industry, though it’s more common in some industries than in others. If you’re an expert or have a lot of valuable knowledge on something, you can offer it to others who want to learn. Your consulting business has to tie into your podcast somehow. Whatever you talk about on your podcast, you can expand on during consulting sessions. This way, you don’t have to exert so much effort convincing people that you’re an expert. They’d already know from having listened to your podcast, after all.
Podcasting can be a very profitable business if you invest effort into it. In order for your podcast to form part of your main income, it’s important to start thinking about maximizing payout early on. If podcasting is still a side hustle for you, don’t worry. Record more episodes, monetize your talent, and keep working hard.