How to Launch a Side Hustle as a Podcaster—NEW for 2021.
by Doc Kane
Updated: June 6, 2021
- Overall Side Hustle Rating: 4.9/5
- Resource Support: 5/5
- Ease of Launch: 4.5/5
- Realistic Timeline to First Sale: six months to a year
- Exit Possibilities: not likely, but you could partner with someone else, and step back from the day to day.
- Scalability: 5/5
- Startup Costs: 5/5 (very low to begin, but cost can scale upward once you start producing more episodes)
- Skills Required: basic internet tech knowledge
Create a Podcast and Guide others with your Voice.
Is a Podcasting Side Hustle Right for You?
Looking to Learn Podcasting Online?
You're in for a real treat. Compared to just a few years ago, the ease of entry has seriously slackened, multiple channels for podcast hosting have popped up, and the marketplace for podcasting in general, is finally at a place where you no longer have to convince people they should listen to your favorite, or help them find the podcasts app is on their phone. These days, everyone is aware of what a podcast is. How to start a podcast, though is a whole different beast, and we'll get to that in a bit.
The evolution of podcasting owes a lot to comedians, Marc Maron and Adam Corrola who's friendly interview styles and celebrity guests made their shows hot tickets beginning in 2009. Jocko and Joe Rogan aided the further popularization of the medium around the same time, but none of these folks were necessarily early to the game. Adam Curry, podcasting's inventive “father,” if you will launched his podcast in 2005, the same year Appl decided to add podcasting to its iTunes store, in turn, giving podcasters a welcome marketing boost. But even Apple wasn't leading the charge.
Who was the very first person to start a podcast?
Tech pioneer, Doug Kaye is credited by some as the person who having had the first podcast, but in his own exit from the platform in 2012, he says his IT Conversations, was only “the second podcast ever published” (source: Blogarithims). Most media researchers credit Matt Schichter with publishing the very first podcast for his entertainment guest interview show, “The Backstage Pass,” launched in October of 2003. (source: Media and Society).
There are a number of military spouses with podcasts, but I think there is a void to fill for single servicemen and servicewomen, not to mention DoD contractors and others affiliated with the military both here in Japan and across the globe. So, why not start one yourself and corner the market? Not everyone has to be, or can be Jocko. Be YOU. Maybe G.I. Jobs will highlight you on their webpage in a year or so… right next to Jocko. 😉
Is podcasting expensive?
Not really. My personal podcast, Marketers Who Can't Market, cost me only the price of my very affordable podcasting lapel mic, the Onwon outdoor microphone wind muffler I put on top of it to keep my pops and sibilance under control, and the fee I pay to BuzzSprout to help me host and syndicate the podcast to iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and a host of other podcasting platforms at the click of a button. I can't recommend them enough. If you're at the point where you're ready to launch a podcast of your own, you can use my affiliate link to grab yourself a $20. Amazon gift card by signing up. Not a bad deal. Plus, their first 90 days are free—plenty of time to test the waters, and no credit card is required to start. Cool, right?
What are the benefits of podcasting?
Well, if you're single, podcasting can actually be a wonderful way to keep you socialized. By way of example, a number of active duty military service men and women have podcasts, as it's a wonderful want to help build business connections for later consulting work either while still on active duty, or after a return to civilian life.
As I mentioned earlier, podcasting is a side hustle you can scale relatively quickly by following the example of numerous others who've blazed the trail before you, and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.
What is the best podcast gear?
Back in 2015 when I first considered taking a stab at podcasting, I spent nearly 1,000 on a mixing board, microphone headset, boom mic, and a variety of software to run the damn thing. I ended up with more headaches and delays than anything else, and podcast that was dead in the water before it even launched. And, if the cost and tech troubles weren't draining, getting guests to respond to interview queries and show up on time was even worse.
Things are different in 2020-2021. You can literally get by with simple $15 headset mic (I'm not kidding) that will deliver great sound, quicker ramp-up time, and a product that sounds as smooth and lovely as anything else out there (outside the guys with full podcast recording studios in their homes, of course).
I recommend starting out small. And, that's true, even though I could sell you the farm on this… like pretty much every other post you're going to see about podcasting equipment. There's no need at this point to buy a lot of gear. You also don't need to hire anyone to get you podcast guests (one of the biggest problems for me six years ago). Simply sign up for a free service like the one offered at podcastguests.com, and you'll be well on your way.
So, save your money. If you want to spend a lot of money on podcasting gear, get 50 to 100 podcasts in the bag first. Then spend the dough.
Plus, if you're here in Japan for only a few years, the last thing you'll want to be doing is off-loading your gear on some sort of Facebook garage sale group before you get a return on the equity you invested into it.
I ended up giving all of my podcasting gear away to a buddy whose daughter used it. I couldn't even sell it. Today, maybe. But just four years ago, nope. Now, everyone wants to be a podcaster!
Start small, and start quickly. Go for what's known as a minimum viable product and just begin.
What kind of podcast should you start?
Well, what are you interested in?
For me, podcasts are a great medium for the inquisitive more than expounding on ideas with which you're already familiar. Sure, if you've already got a platform, and people know you by name, you'll be able to approach guests intelligently and perhaps even get them to appear on your podcast more quickly. But this is hardly necessary. Especially in 2021.
If you're naturally curious, instead of looking to promote your own interests, per se, you'll ask better questions, inform your listeners more, and (I believe), gather a wider fan fan base. Marc Maron famously doesn't prepare for his podcasts, and he's considered the best. He's event chat with Obama. Not a bad deal for a guy literally recording out of his garage. Albeit, with a good podcasting setup.
Need a podcasting mentor?
Let's take a look at who you should listen to in order to prepare for this podcast venture of yours, what kind of gear you might want to get (cheap stuff), and how to structure your effort for manageable growth. Oh, and I'll share some links about monetizing that side hustle of yours for maximum gain as well. But, remember… one caveat.
Podcasting, is for most a labor of love. The money you'll make from it, will most likely—especially in the beginning—from business connections that may want to hire you for off duty consulting. Perhaps even podcast booking if you get good at that! Want to be a virtual assistant? Yes, that's yet another thing you could try. See how all of these skills pile up and make you even more marketable than ever? That's the goal here, really. Side hustles provide a base for learning that you can spin into other more concrete opportunities—most in consulting (a fancy word for service businesses). You can do any of this.
Honing in on transferrable skills you can acquire and bring with you to any place in the world when something like a pandemic hits and you're stuck having to work from home.
Okay, let's take a look at my recommended podcasting resources and tool box for 2021.
Podcasts For and About Members of the Military (or, just great podcasting examples!)
- WTF, with Marc Maron
- Drop and Give Me 20! (Conversations with Military Entrepreneurs), with Lyndsey Germono
- Military Dollar Podcast (just a few episodes… he appears on more podcasts, than he hosts of his own)
- Military Families Learning Network Series of Podcasts
- The Lifegiver Podcast: For Marriages That Serve, with Corie Weathers
- Male MilSpouse Radio Show, with Dave Etter
Podcasts For and About Members of the Military (or, just great podcasting examples!) …continued.
- Handle it With Humor (Parenting, Marriage, Stress, and Bullsh*t), with Mollie Gross
- Military One Click Muster, from milspousefest.com
- Military One Source Podcasts
- The Military Money Show, with Lacey Langford
- Military Veteran Dad, with Ben Killoy
- So Unbecoming, with Jamie Muskopf (Cool podcast about navigating the traditional workforce)
- The Money Millhouse, with Bethany Bayless and Ellie Kay
Podcasting Gear, and How to Monetize a Podcast
- 12 Ways to Monetize a Podcast, PLUS Nick Loper's Actual Results from Side Hustle Nation.
- How to Monetize a Podcast—Four Effective Methods, from PodBean
- How Do Podcasts Make Money? Try These 20 Strategies to Monetize Your Show. —from Castos.
- BuzzSprout's Awesome How to Start a Podcast Channel on YouTube.
- The Best Podcast Equipment for Beginners & Pros, from Podcasting Insights
Course platform, Udemy has a lot of wonderful courses that'll help you learn just about anything. And, many many skills that can help you replace your current job, allowing you to turn 2021 into your year of being an entrepreneur.
Their courses are also extremely affordable, with most coming in between $10 and $50 USD. I purchased this “How to Start a Podcast, “Podcasting Made Easy” way back in 2015. It's still a big seller, with over 32,000 students having taken the course. Might be worth your while if you're wanting to start a podcast this year.
Howdy, all, I'm Doc. I live in the beautiful port city of Kobe, JAPAN with my wife Reiko. Together we co-founded the Japanese literature translation firm, Maplopo. Nihon Hustle grew out of my desire to help others interested in working with, or starting, a business Japan—or anywhere else in the world!
We all wear different hats and my job is to help you find the one that fits you best. Thanks for reading, and go get 'em!