How to Start a Podcast for $12

You need a podcast. Whether you want to share working mom tips, a passion for the outdoors, or share business ideas for women (like I do!!) you just need to start. Podcasting is absolutely the way of the future.  On demand is what we want and this is a powerful form of on demand radio.  Imagine, 2 years ago there were podcast but not even its own app.  2 years ago, 12 million people were listening to podcasts.  Now it's 17 million.  Imagine what it will be when cars have easy access to podcasts.  That's our future. 

In full disclosure, this blog post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase from any of these links, I may make a little money. Thank you in advance for supporting my dream work too!

It's a great time to get into podcasting.  Everyone is still learning, still growing.  They are growing together.  

I love podcasting and talking with my interviewees.  It's a way I can learn, connect and get inspired.  I have a few additional thoughts on other podcasts or how to expand my own but time will me get there.  

In the meantime YOU need to start one too.  Now is the time.  Below is what I did to get started.  

Have a Good Subject & One That You Love 

Okay okay who decides if the subject is a good one or not?  We don't really know.  But you most definitely want to have a topic that you enjoy talking about over and over and over again.   I once heard about a woman traveling the country to talk about the lessons learned from her brother's suicide.  What were the signs, the sadness, etc.  Then she realized how awful it was to talk about over and over and over again.  She didn't want to have her career spent reliving this tragedy.  

Point is, pick a subject you love to talk about.  

Set Your Format 

Will your you be talking on your own, will you be interviewing?  What type of schedule will you maintain?  Once a week or perhaps several times a week?  Set your format now, as best as you can, so your listeners will be ready and eager for the next episode.  

I knew I wanted an interview format right from the get-go.  I wanted / want to connect, learn from, be inspired by, build my tribe around women who have taken the leap.  I knew I wanted to talk with these amazing women right from the get-go.

Get Technically Involved 

If you want to try to have a podcast, you have to get your hands dirty.  I didn't know if it would "stick" so I was willing to learn, to do anything as long as I could keep the costs down at least until I figured out if the podcast was something worth pursuing.  

I knew I wanted an interview format and I was certain that some other interview based podcasts must accept people calling in.  I mean, Billionaire Mark Cuban, has been on podcasts, the interviewer must allow for people to call in from their phones.  I knew I wanted to make it easy for my interviewees to call-in.  If they are busy in their own lives, which I was confident they were, how easy could I make it for them to just say YES! and talk for 30 minutes.  

The Only Equipment You Need

Conference Calling Services

Really, that's all you need.  I signed up for a conference call system where I could record and download the call afterwards.  Actually I used a free conference calling service for my first probably 8 or 9 interviews.  Both parties would call into the conference line, I would hit record, and WA-LA game on!  After the call / super official podcast interview I would hang up, download the recording and begin editing.   That's it.  That's all you formally and officially need to record your podcast.  

It worked well for me.  

I switched from that service to Zoom because I was hosting video conference calls to such a degree that the paid monthly service was needed.  I think it's $15 a month.  If you have a need for video conferencing, sharing screens and recording of that it was and has been a really great service.  I am more than happy to pay the monthly fee for Zoom now.  It has saved me time and time again. 

Whether I am using it for work conference calls, for interviews, for video calls it is so helpful and the quality is top notch.  

Want to Step Up Your Recordings Even Further? 

Zoom's service has been a gem to me all around, no complaints and I still use it often.  For Mother's Day, I was excited to that my husband wanted to treat me to some upgraded podcasting equipment.  I mean, what mom doesn't want a microphone, headphones and a recorder for her gift?

Honestly, I was thrilled!  This is what I got specifically:

  1. Microphone Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
  2. Windscreen Dragonpad USA Pop filter Studio Microphone Mic Wind Screen Pop Filter Swivel Mount 360 Flexible Gooseneck Holder 
  3. Recorder Zoom H4N Digital Multitrack Recorder
  4. Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones - MDR-7506
  5. SIM Card - 32 GB

It took some education from YouTube to really learn how to plug everything in together but when it did come together I was jumping up and down in joy!  I think this video was the one that started me off on the right tracks!

White earphones and tablet pc, close up photo, small dof

Record

Now comes the fun!  Record!  If you are solo or you are interviewing you need to record.  When I first started out I was so nervous and shaky.   I would honestly give myself pep talks but the truth learning how to run a podcast is like learning to ride a bike.  It takes practice and learning to be better and comfortable with it.  In the end though, recording the podcast is the most fun.  Especially if you have a really great guest!  It doesn't matter if you are using a free conference calling service or Zoom!  Have fun! 

Oh! And use your headphones from your phone to talk into.  No microphone is needed at this point, use those headphones.  Trust me, the sound quality is much much better with that added action.

Editing

Be prepared, there is nothing more humbling than hearing yourself talk for the first time.   Errr... .first few times.  But you've gotten this far, don't let fear stop you!

I needed an editing tool because the format of my podcast is interview style.  I wanted to add in an Intro and Outro (as I call it) at the beginning and end of each interview.  Then I also learned I needed to further edit after I got a sweet note from one of my best friends and most loyal listeners that I need to cut out some Ummms and Ahhhs.  

The editing tool I use, GarageBand, is the tool that came with my Mac computer.  I was pleased to hear many other podcasters stick with this free option too.  Once you get over the initial learning curve, it's a pretty great tool! Again, I studied YouTube for videos on how to edit a podcast and found a ton of information there.  It's easy to get sucked into the learning and there were so many to choose from.  Start with this video and go from there.  If you don't have a Mac or access to GarageBand, I have heard good things about Audacity.   I haven't tried it because the need just has not been there but in my research, this seems to be a program people talk about.

All of my saved files are on Dropbox of course.  Does anyone use anything else anymore??  There is no fear about losing files to a crashed computer.  There is no fear that my files won't be accessible.  I can pull anything from my phone, my tablet, my computer.  I can share.  I can do my work, save it to Dropbox and move on.  What else do you need?

Publishing

(Here's where I spent my money when I started out.)

Once your podcast is ready, you have to publish!  How fun!!  There are so many manners on how to publish actually publish a podcast.  Simplecast is the program I choose.  To me, it seemed simple and it did the job.  By this point, I had been to my eyeballs in research and learning, when it came time to publish, I didn't need anything fancy.  Just get the job done.  And I was willing to pay.  $12 a month.  Can't beat that right?? 

Find Yourself

You've done the work!  Now go listen!  How crazy fun and scary was that??  But you did it!   You crossed a big hurdle and did it! Congrats!

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