Podcasting - Are you in it for money?

Let’s build from yesterday’s blog about pursuing what you love through podcasts

I get a number of people asking me when in their podcasting journey they can expect to start making money from it. My answer: DON’T. I know it baffles them because they are like so why do it then?

To be frank, we all would like some form of remuneration for whatever we put considerable effort towards. Even podcasting. As an African I know that sometimes ‘our’ approach to doing something is based on whether we are getting money from it or not. This is why it’s easier to find a job than take the plunge as an entrepreneur because the job comes with a contract where you get your money in your bank account after a certain period. It’s comfortable. 

To translate this to podcasting, say a prospective podcaster comes across the famous Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. When they find out that that podcast makes a 6-figure sum every month they think podcasting is the industry for them. I mean what could be so hard about recording a conversation. They quickly think of a podcast idea and buy a half decent microphone and begin the journey. A month and 4 episodes down the line they are hardly getting any listeners maybe 10 or so and that becomes a frustrating story. Then they give up. Cue in the cycle. This happens ALL the time.

The trap is that many people think it's easy to monetize a podcast to the level of replacing a salary. It's not. When my friend Dez and I started Radio Kunakirwa back in 2007 we peaked at around 30 downloads per week our first 3 or 4 months then 100 downloads for a looooooooooooooong time. Those were some frustrating times. We knew we wanted to be bigger than that. Good thing we never gave up and weren’t in it for the money. It went on to become the most successful Zimbabwean podcast of its time and in our third year we crossed into a listenership of thousands. 

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I am not saying don’t have a plan to monetize but pursue whatever you pursue, be it a podcast or other, to fulfill something within you and in the process solve a problem for others. That is one of the best foundations for anything you want to build. From there your success, expertise and smart moves will translate into $$$.