You read right, I’m now charging my podcast guests.
Check out the post here.
I love podcasting. I love it so much for what it is, my voice and your ears. I love it for what it has given me, which is a direction for my life and my business. From close friends, I have gained to the connections to people from every corner of the planet. Finally, I am grateful for what the platform allows me to give to others in the form of enjoyable and educational content.
April 2, 2014, I ended my life long journey of working at my family’s $100 Million business without a clue as to what I was going to do to support my wife and I. I went back to school to try to figure it out and started going to networking meetings to potentially find a path. One month later I was on a plane to Disney World and thanks to a friend on the plane I was inspired to start the Dreamers Podcast which three years later would transition into The Business Podcast. I built on the fact that I started blogging back in 1996 as a kid and never stopped. Content creation and bringing people together has always been my goal.
Towards the end of 2014, I even started up the Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference which has been growing year over year since. I’ve given tons of talks across the country both advocating for people to find and pursue their dreams, grow their business, and pushing for others to create their own content to connect with others and create a movement. I’ve written four books with the first three being critically acclaimed self-development books and the fourth coming out on March 2, 2018.
Podcasting means the world to me and I could not imagine my life without it. I have always experimented with trying new things on my show. From doing the show five days a week for four months back when I was just getting started, to have a pre-show in front of my guest interviews, to doing topic shows and so much more. I always push my fellow podcasters to own the fact that their show is theirs and they shouldn’t allow others to dictate how long an episode should be or what it should be about (within reason of staying cohesive with the brand you are creating).
Over the nearly four years of podcasting I always get the same question: but how do you make any money from doing a podcast? I explain to them that from my show I have made almost zero dollars. Because of my podcast I have been able to make a living, a successful business and a brand revolving around what I love to do.
My time is light years away from where it once was four years ago. Going from having a wife to becoming a family of four has changed my expectations for what I need to accomplish in my allotted time and the amount of money my time is worth has greatly increased over the last four years.
Another thing that has changed is the direction and mission of my podcast. I changed the name to The Business Podcast shortly after winning Business Podcast of the year from the 12th Annual Podcast Awards to better reflect the topic of my show. While my show started out as a self-development show, over the course of the years it morphed into a show about business. Which is a topic that I am endlessly passionate about?
The podcast will still be released every Tuesday at 8 AM EST. Going forward I am creating four separate series for my show going forward.
A few months back after winning the Podcast Awards, I took a step back and started looking at how I was spending my time with my show. Over the course of the first four years of the show, I have been able to shave the hours down to producing my show. What started to occur to me was that once my show made the jump from Dreamers Podcast: Business Lessons From Those Who Live Their Dreams to The Business Podcast featuring Super Joe Pardo was that I needed to redirect my energy with the show. I have always loved highlighting others, I have built my life around that. I truly believe that we all hold a spotlight and in order to get where we want to go in life, we need to shine our light onto others. The Dreamers Podcast was built on this premise.
Now, The Business Podcast is a pure business podcast where the goals for me are:
The first two goals have been something that I would say has been happening since I got started podcasting. The third goal had eluded me, for the most part.
After giving some deep thought about this for a couple of months (in between finishing up my fourth book) I think I know why that is.
Being a great host and growing a show has been amazing for me on so many levels as I stated above, but my goals are not aligned with getting hired for being a great host. Am I honored that some have told me that they love my show, my hosting abilities, and how I run the show? Absolutely!
But here’s the thing… No one is going to hire me to consult for their business based on being a fun host on an engaging show.
My show needs to highlight my skill set more. My show needs to highlight be directly affecting the businesses of others. Having guests on my show have been incredible, and I love many of the hundreds of guests I’ve had on. Now that the show is solely focused on business and I am almost exclusively having business owners on to talk about their journey, business, and skills. I am not giving my audience enough of my journey, my business, and the skills that will actually enable me to have higher exposure and increasing my chances of being hired as a consultant.
My time, word, audience, consistency, platform, website/podcast hosting costs, promotion skills, producing, hosting skills, and promoting them are worth money.
Time: Time spent away from my family. Time spent away from working on the parts of my business that do make money.
Word: My word is the only thing in this world that is truly mine.
Audience: A growing audience that spans thousands of downloads per month. Interactions regularly with my listeners.
Consistency: While my podcast has been released on time every week since May 2014 (over 330 episodes), my current site has been operating since 2011. Not mention my previous blogs that go back to 1996. When going back over the shows that I have been featured on over the last three years to see if I can get back on to promote my upcoming book, I was disappointed to see that around half of them don’t exist anymore.
Platform: Bringing business owners together from all over the world on a platform that spans Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and more.
Hosting Costs: The hosting costs for both the website and keeping the podcast online for the world to download.
Promotion Skills: The skills needed to attract listeners with the content created to promote the content (the podcast episode).
Producing: From equipment to the time it takes to put the episode together soup to nuts takes time.
Hosting Skills: Becoming an award-winning podcaster has opened my eyes to the value that I am providing for not only my listeners but my guests. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that after being on my show they feel like they have been to a therapy session. (example at the end of that episode) Being able to highlight their journey, life, business and skill set is something that I have been honing even before I started my show. Helping them by not only creating a great interview to showcase them but crafting a premium experience for them to share with others. That is because I am genuinely interested in learning about people and their stories.
Promoting Them: In the last year, the amount of guest pitches I have received from PR companies has grown exponentially. The guests are looking to promote themselves, their products and services.
Having several PR companies pitching me 50 to 100 guests per month has made filling my episode pipeline much easier, it has started to become an issue with my limited time to produce the show in the first place. My calendar has gotten booked upwards of 6 months out, at a time. Each episode taking between 3-4 hours of time to create. We now have our second child, and to balance lifestyle with my business, I need to find a way to do what I have not done in the past: Make money from my show, not just because of my show.
I am more than happy to continue to have guests on my show and help them promote their products and services. But the time has come to start charging for people who are looking for promotion. As they are business owners who can and should be writing off their advertising expenses on their taxes.
The people using PR companies are paying for easier access to shows like mine and they are getting paid. As a consistent, award-winning, content creator who is putting a ton of work into his platform. I deserve to be paid as well.
I want to point out that I hope to achieve by charging a sponsorship fee is that my guests will become more invested in my premium platform. I can’t tell you how many guests I’ve had that decided not to share their episode.
Utilizing the mid to higher packages I offer include paid Facebook ads to help push the platform and my guest further.
Life and business should not be a one-way street.
Let me first say that I am good friends with several of these companies. I got a lot of love, respect and cheer on those people (you know who you are) and I hope they love, respect and cheer me on what I am looking to accomplish with this new plan of action.
With all that said, and the shift to putting the focus back on myself in three of my four series on The Business Podcast I have generated a spreadsheet with over 400 topics that I want to talk about on the show in the Business Lessons series. That list alone will bring me 8 years of content if I never had another guest on my show.
By adding these different series to the podcast, I am going to be able to start accomplishing all three of the goals that I mentioned above.
Combine that with the fact that doing these other types of episodes will enable me to reduce my production time down from 3-4 hours per episode to about 1. This will enable me to focus on doing the things that allow me to make money to support my family, business and passion.
I’m going to continue to fulfill my passion of business and helping others regardless of how this pans out.
Affiliates can be great, but only if your audience is going to act on the information and use your affiliate link or code.
Sponsors are fine, but in many cases, they only want you if you have 1000’s of listeners and are going to pay 20$ per 1000. (Give or take.)
Part of my sponsorship packages includes sponsorship from the guest. Creating a personal connection (it’s just your voice and their ears) with my listeners is endlessly more important than just having an ad.
The packages that I have worked out are set up to increase the exposure of the guest and the episode. So this is not so much a fee to be a guest on the show as it is a tiered level to get access to increased promotion of your episode, products, and services.
Currently, I have packages that range from $300 to $3,000 with the mid to high packages including paid Facebook ads created by me, the ad reads in the episodes and more.
You can click here to check out the current packages.
My plan is to interview 2 to 3 nonprofit leaders a year with no sponsorship fee.
The answer is no. Having a self-development show originally had slightly different goals and my guests from that time period are just amazing. Most of them were not actively trying to promote their products or services and I had deep connections with them either before the interview or after the interview. Not to say that I don’t have that now, but it is certainly different now that the show is business focused with business owners coming on to help promote their business, products, and services.
I realize it is not something that many other podcasters are doing and I expect some to push back. I can’t tell you if this strategy is for every podcaster, but I know what feels right for me, my family, my platform, my listeners and my guests.
My hope is that I have covered everything in this open letter.
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