The simple steps to start a podcast for free.[Organic growth process] - For Side Hustlers

Learning how to start a podcast doesn't have to be an overwhelming process. That is why in this guide we will breakdown 17 steps for you to launch a successful podcast. This process is a fully free method with a process for organic growth. Implementing these strategies to start a podcast can be an added benefit for your side hustle success. Beyond the usual thought process behind starting a podcast of showing authority, podcasts are a really fun and exciting way to connect with other like-minded individuals.  

We will cover the mindset for launching your podcast, the important framework for the foundation of your podcast, what platforms to use(including a link to actual groups to help network and grow your podcast), your podcast name, episode length, how proactiveness helps you with your podcast, recording equipment, how you can monetize your podcast, tips for content, software that you can use for your podcast, how to set up your show, how to create a buzz for your show during launch, and what to do for launch day. 

 I tend to try and not make a lot of guarantees around anything when trying to teach others about how to grow side hustles. Mainly because results can vary from person to person. Thing is, with this step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast, success is not a hard thing to obtain. Just as long as you actually take action to follow the steps laid out for you and you are realistic about your expectation.

Some of the steps discussed in this blog if combined together can be a huge toll on your time, energy, and patience. Creating and recording the podcast are some of the easiest things you can do. To be candid with you the marketing aspect of it though can be daunting, but if done with proper planning and consistency you can see the results that you are looking for. 

The path is going to start out different than what a lot of my counterparts in the podcasting world explain for how to start a podcast. See, to me a lot of them do it backward and have you launch to a quiet room. Wouldn't you rather have a launch of your podcast have a bunch of raving, drooling fans wanting to consume every word? 

This post may contain affiliate links for products and services I recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission

 If so, then stick around because we will get into that soon. 

We will put this right out the gate, this blog post is not for everybody who wants to start a podcast. In an effort to save you time, I'd like to layout to those of you that may want to find another site to learn about how to start a podcast:

  • If you aren't willing to overcome any self-doubt around achieving success, then read no further.
  • If you don't plan on having patience with yourself, and growing a podcast, then read no further. 
  • If you don't want to put in hard work because this isn't easy, then read no further. 
  • If you don't plan on taking action to achieve the success you desire, then read no further. 

Ok, now that those people left, let's get down to business. 


An opportunity is what all of us are looking for. This can be an opportunity to work with someone you have dreamed about or the opportunity to show your skills and how they can help your clients achieve their results. 

The passing of every episode you do is another opportunity to attract positive outcomes to your business. This means ways that you probably have not even thought about can create a new avenue for revenue to be generated by your efforts. 

I wanted to mention this because for whatever reason that you are getting into this, as you go a multitude of opportunities for networking, branding, and revenue will happen. 

How does that sound? The power of your own voice shaping a better version of your life. But, your voice alone won't do it, work is required. 

Here are some opportunities that I got from starting a podcast. 

The mindset of a podcaster 

Look, every single one of us has that annoying voice in our head that wants to knock down anything we want to do positively for ourselves. 

This journey is going to be a huge change for you and us as people don't like change. Therefore your mind will give you more reason not to do things related to growing your podcast than actually doing it. 

For example, like not wanting to read this entire article. You can't tell me the minute you saw the length that you didn't think to hit that back button instantly. 

 I know for me when I google a "How to" guide it is populated with tons of articles. My brain quickly goes "Let's find something else to do." 

 This is common, our mind wants to find easier more fun things to do than reading 5000-word articles. 

Thing is, it is what we need to do if the desired results we want are hidden somewhere in those words. 

What I want to warn you against are the struggles that you may be fighting. 

Overwhelm on this journey may be one of the biggest enemies you face. We plan to overcome that by breaking everything down into easily actionable steps. This is a process, and to process it correctly means not getting ahead of yourself and doing what you can do comfortably. 

Fear is a demotivator that stops everything in its tracks. Fear of what others will think, fear of failing, and fear of the unknown from even doing your podcast will all prevent you from opening yourself up to the opportunity I spoke of before. Here is the thing, every podcaster has faced this, and the successful ones focus on what is more important. Which is helping whoever it is by doing the podcast. 

To podcast or not to podcast? This shouldn't be a question.

What new social apps like Clubhouse shows are that the ability to have voice-only interaction isn't going anywhere anytime soon. 

Plus, with everyone being home during the pandemic, now is a good time to focus on growing this side hustle. With that said, here are some stats for my analytics thinkers out there. 

According to SmallBizGenuis:

  • 197 million Americans have heard about podcasts. 
  • 32% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month.
  • There were 750,000 active podcasts in 2019.
  • On average, 45% of podcast listeners have an annual household income of more than $250,000.
  • 2 million podcasts are registered by Google.
  • 54% of podcast consumers say they think about buying advertised products.  
  • Businesses spent $497 million on podcast advertising in 2018.
  • Brands that advertise their products and services on business podcasts enjoy an average 14% rise in purchase intent.

Here are some more resources for statistics around podcast if you into that sort of thing:

2021 Podcast stats & research(New research from Jan 2021)

10 Powerful Podcast Statistics you need to know in 2021

That's enough statistics to tickle my fancy. Let's start to get to business. 


Laying the foundation for an amazing strategic podcast launch

Remember when I told you we were starting out different than what other people mention on podcast launch blogs? Welp, here we go.

Accountability is going to be the first piece we talk about. Why? Because if you don't hold yourself accountable out the gate, then doing everything else may fall on a never getting done to-do list. 

What you will hold yourself accountable to is a launch date. 

That's right, you are going to tell yourself right now when you are going to launch the podcast. 

Can be a week from now, a month, whenever. Just be sure it's something you can accomplish. Being too ambitious is how our friends overwhelm and procrastination shows up. 

So what is your launch date? Got it written down? Good. 

This way you have no choice but to show up for the rest of this article. 

Why are you starting a podcast? This is important because it will be the lifeblood to keep the needle moving on your path. Not having a clear why will minimize motivation, energy, and happiness with your podcast. 

Some examples can be:

  • Brand awareness
  • Become the go-to in your niche
  • Sell product or service

These are only a few, but whatever you decide that aligns with you is perfect. 

A thriving, engaged, and fun community ready to open their wallets! If you follow these steps.

This is where the fun begins because this part here is what separates attracting consistent listeners to months of figuring out how you can increase listenership. For the initial success of your podcast, you must get clear about your listeners. This is taken for granted and not researched enough by most people, including myself. So, pick your niche on who your listeners are. Don't be afraid to be too niched down. The deeper the better. 

Finding a way to resonate with people makes this easier because you'll understand them and they understand you. When people connect with you, it connects you to their wallets. One way to ensure that you connect with your audience is finding out the problem that you are solving for them. How do they describe the problem? An example may be that your client has trouble developing a marketing strategy. They may not describe it that way and just say they have trouble attracting clients. 

They may not resonate with you speaking in terms of not having a marketing strategy, but break down into what the actual problems are preventing them from getting the desired results. 

People are selfish and think of themselves most times. This isn't coming from a negative place, this is a business idea that you must keep so you know how to operate moving forward. 

Basically, speak to what's in it for them by explaining the transformation that people will get by listening to you. 

I have a surprise activity for you already. 

Before we continue to the activity, make sure you answer the following now: 

Why are we doing a podcast?

Who is this for?

What is their problem?

How can I solve their problem?

What is their ideal transformation? 

Well here is the action to be taken. Once all those questions are answered, you will record a brief video, no longer than a minute, announcing the launch of your podcast. (If longer than a minute it isn't the end of the world.)

See most people launch a podcast then market. 

Nah. 

The goal here is to get your listeners out of the box when you launch. Why would you want to create something then launch to crickets? This path gives you a community drooling for the content you plan on delivering. 

 Added benefits to announcing your podcast launch is you start to build a community and this helps with accountability since you have to tell the world when you're launching. Meaning, give out the date your podcast launches when you announce it. 

Either you are going to have socials for the podcast itself or you plan on using your personal socials to provide content for your podcast. On any online channel you have or plan to create, please go there and announce your podcast on it. 

So, you may be asking where are your people? Let's go find them. 

If you haven't read Kevin Kelly's "A thousand true fans" then I highly suggest it. It will give you an idea of what we are going for here. Once you get to know me and the content I write more, you'll see I speak a lot about building relationships and a community around your business. I will be providing quite a bit of resource for you to find your tribe so that you can inform them your podcast is here. 

One of the first resources that I would like to give you is a guide to building an email list. If there is anything that you can do to create a community, I highly suggest that you start off by building your email list. This guide is your shortcut to that path. Here are a few places I know that you can go and find people to interact with your podcast besides friends and family. Be mindful though as some of these groups do have rules around self-promotion or advertising. 

So, I will give a tip. Form your content to be educational and engaging. Education should be a given. What I mean by engaging is asking people in these groups questions. Question them about the problem you are looking to solve. 

This does two things for you:

  • Creates a relationship with people as you are trying to understand their struggle. 
  • Once you come out with your podcast that addresses their pain point you can position it in front of them easier to check it out. 

This is how you can get a big launch. These people will already be used to engaging with you because you took time to talk with them.I used this for my podcast launch and used it for my website. I asked people's pain point with time management and that has gotten me some content ideas to help solve their problems. 

Groups to Find your audience:

 *Note - These are more for the entrepreneurship-driven podcaster who is looking to help other entrepreneurs. The point is, even on websites, social media sites, and forums mentioned below, you can find your tribe. 

  • https://www.reddit.com/r/business/ - You can’t self-promote here but you can use this as a resource to gain knowledge and many people ask questions here. Keep an eye out and maybe you can help some people and make a connection. 
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/ - Here is rule 4 of the forum - It is acceptable to cite your sources and provide references to claims, even if this is to your own content/website. However, there should not be an explicit solicitation, advertisement, or clear promotion for the intent of awareness. Posts must not be made for the primary purpose of selling or promoting yourself, your company, or your service. The most acceptable way to share a URL is to use a SPOILER tag with Reddit's formatting, if you do not, there is a chance your post will be removed. (Maybe you can be creative and think of ways to put yourself out there.)
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/EntrepreneurRideAlong/ - They actually provide opportunities for you to promote your business. Again pay attention to see if you can answer any questions on this forum. 
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneurship/ - Strong feelings of self-promotion. But you are starting to get the drift here around finding and helping other entrepreneurs. 
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/growmybusiness/ - A good place that people go looking for help with growing their business. 
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/smallbusiness/ - They have threads here as well for self-promotion and further opportunities to position yourself in front of your audience. 
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/PodcastGuestExchange/ - Good source if you are looking for podcast guests on repeat. Many guests I found were from this site. 


OK, I know all of these examples were from Reddit, the point is, you can find the same type of groups on Facebook, and Google your niche. For me, I found Reddit to be very successful at making some connections with people.

 Here are some questions that you can ask people that you do make a connection with:


  • What podcasts do you currently listen to?
  • What do you enjoy about this podcast?
  • What do you think the current podcasts you listen to are missing?
  • What would you like to hear from a podcast? What topics/guests would you like to hear?

See below here some additional resources that you can use for free to find the problems your audience is having and craft your content around it to further engage. 

Answer Socrates - It can help you discover the questions people ask on Google about almost any topic for free.

Answer the public - It can help you Get instant, raw search insights.

Answer the public - It can help you Get instant, raw search insights.

Google trend - It can help you find your selected topic's popularity.

Hashtagify - Helps you find trending hashtags in your niche. ( This one is for Social Media )

So many platforms but only one podcaster

After you have started making some individual connections, the next phase is to start providing content on any social platform that you decide. So start showing up on either Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit. Whatever platform feels right for you. There are many resources out there that can aid you with how to grow those channels. This is how you get people ready for your podcast and you build your authority. 

This can be an overwhelming part of the journey when it comes to social media. Do not overdo it here. If you feel Facebook is right for you, then focus your energy there. This goes for any of the platforms. People just need to start getting to know you is all. 


Your podcast Name and Message?

This does not have to be a complicated process in picking a name for your podcast. Think of who it is for, what is your topic and how you want people to feel. This is the first impression that people will have with your content. This can be a sure-fire way for you to stand out from the crowd. 


Research then attract with your own super powerful messaging

Within your respective niche or business go ahead and look to your competition. Understand who they are, what they do, and what attracts people to their show. Then you can understand your audience's likes and dislikes somewhat better. 

With this same information, you can craft your unique message and fill gaps within the niche. If this is done right it can explode your podcast. I seriously can’t tell you guys enough about how important research on your target market is. You probably think you're doing enough, but you're not. Keep close contact with people from the previous forums or social media platforms that you have been talking to. They can actually help you build a profitable side hustle by better understanding their problems. 

Keep your message simple about who your podcast is for, what problem you solve and what sets you apart from others in your field. 

Styles of Podcasting

There does not have to be a one-size-fits-all for your podcast.

Below you will see a few formats that you can choose from:

1. Interview Style 

 Pros - 

- Build relationships and get to meet people for other opportunities in the future. 

- You can ask them to share the interview when it goes live. This can spread your podcast reach..

- Authority by association - by interviewing high-profile guests, your audience will begin to see you as an authority.

Cons - 

- Interviews can take longer to edit. You don’t have to though, so this can keep it natural

- You have to set up a time that suits you both. 

- Your ability to keep it interesting and a natural flow of conversation have to stay sharp for the episode. Otherwise, people can tell you are uninterested in the topic. 

- If you're always highlighting your guest as the authority this does not help you show your expertise. 

2. Solo 

               Pros-

             - You can record on your own schedule.

             - You can edit mistakes as you go. Saves you time. 

- You'll be able to build a connection with your audience quicker. Remember relationships are key for your success. 

- In today’s day and age personal branding is key. 

-You can script out a few episodes at a time in one sitting. Unlike an interview that you can only do so many based on other schedules during a given time period. 

Cons:

- Content idea drought could be a thing. 

-Takes some time to get comfortable ad-libbing an entire episode. 

  • Co-Hosted

Pros:

- Have others helping you grow and build the podcast

-The positive energy can feed off of each other. 

Cons:

- Easy to get off track if someone is not keeping the goal of the show present 

- Can lose track of time which can make for long shows that ramble.

- Relies on you both doing your part equally - or else can lead to resentment. 

The path that I chose was a mix of solo and interview styles. I did this because I still wanted to connect with my tribe as well as be able to introduce them to other entrepreneurs. 


Your Intro & Outro Music 

I got my intro music off of Shutterstock.com. I paid a fee for mine however you do not have to do the same. There are sites that you can get royalty-free music. For example, Bensound.com is a pretty simple solution to getting royalty-free music. Just make sure your Intro and outro blends with the ideals and feel that you want of your podcast. 

Episode length 

This may take some time for you to be able to find the sweet spot for your podcast. The biggest advice that I can provide here is to make sure when you are starting to record your podcast that you provide the best possible information to help your audience reach the desired transformation. Think to yourself, does it take an hour to relay that information? Or can I get it down to 15-20 minutes by taking out some fluff? 

Once you start to have routine listeners you can pool them to find out what length of an episode they like. I aim to keep mine no more than 20 mins. I like to keep the episodes nice, to the point with action steps to move onto. 

The next question with this you may ask is how often should you publish episodes. I say at least once a week. If you can do more without being overwhelmed then yes go for that. Otherwise, as I have been saying, stick to what you are comfortable with. 

Be proactive as possible with your show

In the solo style podcast, I mentioned earlier that the pro of this was to record multiple episodes at a time. In general, if you can do this, it is best for your show. You will want to launch with about 5 episodes so that your audience can then binge all the content on your podcast. Another bonus by doing this method is that you can stay proactive with your show and always have content coming down the pipeline for your tribe. 

This process will also allow you to then focus on the promotion of your podcast on a regular basis instead of you having to continuously record more episodes all the time. 

Recording Equipment

As the title suggests I am here to provide you with tools to produce a podcast for the least cost possible(free). With that being said, when it comes to equipment, you do not have to break the bank. 

I personally use this microphone for my podcast. It is pretty cheap and gets the job done. Other than that, you actually can start recording your podcast from your phone even. 

By combining your phone to record and using the Anchor platform to produce your podcast you can produce episodes free. 

Other than that, don’t get overwhelmed with the options here please. Your time, energy, and effort don’t have to be spent researching so much of what is the best equipment to use for your podcast. 

Monetization

Behind the few choices that I provide here, there are many ways that you can make income from your podcast. 

3 of the more common ways to monetize your podcast are 

  • Sell your products or service on the podcast
  • Sell ad space on the podcast
  • Promote affiliate links on the podcast 

You can either do all 3 of these strategies in some combination or pick one to start off with. To me, for the best results, pick one and focus on it. Don’t have so many CTA’s that the Clients you want to work with may get confused by all the action you want them to take. I learned this the hard way and have worked really hard to get more clear on who I work with. 

So having a clear message on what you offer for people to buy will reduce the rejection from Clients doing work with you. Always remember a confused brain does not buy. 

Content is king 

This will go a little more in detail beyond batching out your episodes. In the beginning, it is a good idea to script out your podcast episodes to help with the flow of the show and keep you on task. 

As well to help you with this is using tools to help you achieve the best results possible when it comes to crafting killer content for starting your podcast. 

Some items to use are starting with Google Docs to script out the episodes. This is pretty cool because you do not have to type out the content at all. You can use the nifty talk-to-text speech on Google Doc. So in a sense, you can speak like you are on your podcast already to get more experience and comfortably without the hassle of typing everything out.

The talk to text option can be found under “Tools”  Then “Voice Typing” or you can hit Ctrl+Shift+S for the quick option to work for talk to text. 

One other resource for the content creation of the podcast is Calendly. This is a great platform to schedule any guest to your show and the meeting is quickly added to your calendar. It does have a paid and free option. The free option only allows for one event but that is OK to start with.  

I use Air Table as well to put all my content in one place. I use this for my Instagram Posting, YouTube video ideas, Podcast Ideas, and my blog post ideas. It is kind of a one-stop-shop to house everything that I want to share with you all. I highly suggest using Air Table to keep track of all content ideas. I have the app on my phone as well so that if a thought strikes me anywhere, I can go to Air Table and jot it down before forgetting. 

Take this opportunity with the content to make sure you are writing detailed show notes for each episode of your podcast. This will help people discover your podcast and let them know what the episode is all about. 

When it comes to the graphic design of your podcast art you can use Canva as a free option to design it. You can choose them as a per episode design which will take the time or a general design for your show. Remember, do what you are comfortable with, no need to be overwhelmed by it all. 

Software for your Podcast

The list for software could pretty much be endless. Here I am going to cut straight to the chase and provide you with what I use. 

For interviews I use Zoom. I have the paid option however you can use the free option of Zoom. You only get 40 mins at the time of this writing for the free option. If you can keep it under that then you are golden. 

The other important software is your editing/recording software. Now since the solo episodes you do will be scripted your mistakes may be limited. I legit don’t spend any more than 15 mins maybe less editing each episode. Even with the “Uh” and “Um.” I don't have as many as when I first started podcasting but I would just leave them in. So, depending on what you feel comfortable with, this can take you extremely long if you overcomplicate it. 

The program that I use is Audacity. It is free. I am not that efficient with it as it does have many editing tools. All I use is to remove any dead air or any feedback noises. Beyond that, it stays pretty basic for me as I said with editing. 

Setting Up the show

Ok, I already mentioned Anchor as a free option to set up your show already. By using Anchor, it will actually produce your show naturally on all the other major podcast platforms. 

What I use is Libsyn. It is pretty simple, reliable, and starts at a pretty cheap price. The analytics on it is pretty amazing if you decide to pay for some more of the costlier options. For an additional resource, here is a guide to set up your new show on Libsyn. 

Build it, Create Buzz, Cause Panic! 


Now here comes the final stages of the launch. Throughout everything I spoke about you already should have announced the launch of your podcast and began building relationships with your community. So that part of the building should already be in place and in action in between the announcement and launch date of your podcast. 

The buzz part of your podcast launch is as follows:

  • Starting count down for the days for the launch. On every social post, and email include “P.S. X days until our podcast goes live!”
  • Give teasers on what is upcoming for the show. Don’t give it all away but you can tell them what you will be talking about or treat email subscribers to a “sneak peak.”
  • With everyone that you have engaged with for your podcast make sure to make a list of interested people. On launch day, you will be going back and reaching out to them to personally let them know your show is live and to ask them to subscribe. 
  • Get active in Facebook groups as well for your podcast.
  • Here are some groups that I have used to network in for my podcast launch:

Again, these are all resources I used to help the launch of my podcast. This is just to give you an idea of what you are looking for and giving you the path to achieving success. Make sure you reply to each one thanking them for responding. 

As a bonus, sometimes you will find other people asking questions in this group that you actually can answer yourself on the show as well. This is why I mentioned AirTable as a huge benefit for crafting content. You can save the post as well as draft your answers on its pages. 

Launch day is here

This is where all the hard work you put in now pays off to have a massive launch. 

Start off by emailing any of your subscribers letting them know that your podcast is live. The Added bonus is you can ask them to forward the email to anybody else they think this will help as well. 

Go back to your list of interested people and follow up with them to let them know it is live. 

You can run a launch giveaway for your podcast. Make sure it is in line with your niche. You don’t want to attract people who will only come for the giveaway and leave after. Make sure any guest you have on the show for launch share the episode with their audience as well. 

If you decide to go with various social media then go there to announce the launch to your following. Make sure to ask them to subscribe. 

The steps here include reaching out to family and friends and asking them to subscribe. Every subscriber counts here. They can also forward to their friends and family. 

Lastly, don’t forget to share it with me! That’s right! Tag me in your Instagram post(@Self_Educated_Entrepreneur) and I will shout you out. Keep up the social proof of people listening to your podcast. Anytime you get feedback, reach subscriber goals, and overall conversations ongoing about your show, put it out there for others to see what they are missing. This will help increase the listener base. 

Congrats YOU did it. 

You are officially a podcaster now. This journey is only the beginning now yet will be one of the most humble things you can do to help other people reach their desired transformations. 

I appreciate you for reading this and if you made it this far, I know that you are destined for success with this. 

If you are looking for further resources on building a profitable side hustle then make sure to join the Active Entrepreneur daily email newsletter. It is for side hustlers who want to build profitable businesses that turn into full-time careers so that they can turn their dreams into reality. 

About The Author

Fabe Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur. When he is not working on one of the businesses, he is spending time with his wife of 15 years, playing video games with friends, and furthering his knowledge in the entrepreneurship space. The ultimate mission is to educate entrepreneurs to be leaders with their life, teams, and business industry in their realm.