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Starting a podcast in 2024: is it worth it? Episode 7

Starting a podcast in 2024: is it worth it?

· 06:15

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Justin:

This user on Reddit is wondering: "Starting a podcast, is it worth it?" This is a good question, especially these days with TikTok and Instagram and YouTube.

Justin:

Well, back in 2012, my friend Kyle Fox reached out to me and asked: "Do you want to make a podcast together?" I said yes. We decided to talk about tech startups, interview the founders, and figure out how to make products that people love. We came up with a name, Product People, and then we both bought cheap microphones like this started recording on Skype. You remember Skype? And we recorded an episode every week, for 50 weeks.

Justin:

It wasn't always easy to show up week after week. Sometimes it was hard to get guests on the show. Sometimes we'd get a guest and the interview wouldn't work out very well. But we did all of these episodes and eventually we got to over a 100 podcast episodes.

Justin:

And I can say that, without question, that podcast led to every good thing that happened in my career since then. While we didn't have a ton of listeners, we were able to build a small audience of people that were passionate about the same things we were: building software products, building products that people loved.

Justin:

And some of that audience ended up being employers who reached out and wanted to hire us. Some of those people ended up being lifelong friends that introduced us to other people that helped us in our careers and our businesses.

Justin:

The thing about podcasting is that even if you don't have a lot of listeners, if you're showing up consistently, and the right people are listening, you're increasing what's called your "luck surface area." Meaning by showing up episode after episode, by interacting with an audience, by talking about things that you're excited about, by sharing your life with people... you're building connections. You're building connections with the guests that you bring on, and you're building connections with the audience. And it's those connections that can lead to opportunities down the road.

Justin:

For example, one of the people I interviewed on that podcast was Chase Reeves. These days, he has a really fun YouTube channel where he reviews bags.

Chase Reeves:

I've got my phone in one hand, maybe a croissant in the other.

Justin:

But back then, he was working for a tech startup. He and I hit it off and he said, "Hey, I think you should come and hang out with me and my friends at this festival." And so after he invited me a few times, I said yes. I booked a ticket, went down and I met all sorts of really interesting people at that conference. One of the people I met was Jon Buda. He and I connected over podcasting. I was telling him about the podcast I was doing. He was interested in building tools for podcasters.

Justin:

And then every year after that, (so 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), we would get together. We would talk about projects we're working on. We would talk about things that were going on in our lives.

Justin:

And then late 2017, he said, "Hey. I'm working on a new project. I wanna show it to you." That project was Transistor, the podcast hosting startup him and I run together today. Transistor has been by far the most interesting, compelling, life giving project I've worked on. It's become an incredible company.

Justin:

But if I had never started that podcast, if I had never published all those episodes, if I'd never invited Chase to be on the show, I would have never met my business partner, and we wouldn't be here today.

Justin:

This is the kind of serendipity that you can get when you start a podcast. It's a simple way to build connections with interesting people and an interested audience, and those connections can lead to all sorts of opportunities that you can't even imagine in the future.

Jeremy Enns:

Now how do creatprs make sense of this? How would you approach podcasting compared to other platforms? Like, what do I do with this as a creator?

Justin:

Podcasting is different from other types of media like TikTok and Twitter and Facebook and even YouTube in some key ways. First, when people are listening to a podcast, they're usually completely there. They're either driving home from work or walking the dog or doing the dishes; there's nothing else on their screen that is distracting them. It's very personal. It's very intimate.

Justin:

And they're spending a lot of time with you – 30 minutes, an hour, every episode, and often over a long period of time. And what that enables, better than any kind of medium, is this very personal relationship that you get with the audience. I've been at a conference and people have recognized me just by my voice, because they've spent so much time with me in their car, on their walk, doing chores. They feel like they know me. And you just don't get that kind of depth with any other medium. So is it worth creating a podcast today? Yes.

Justin:

Especially if you commit yourself to creating a meaningful connection between you and your audience, and you and your guest. And if you do that episode after episode, week after week, month after month, year after year, I guarantee you it will have a meaningful impact on your life.

Chase Reeves:

This changed my life.

Justin:

By the way, if you're one of those people that started a podcast, I'd love to hear how it impacted your life. Share your story in the comments so everybody can see it. And if you're interested in starting a podcast, we have a great guide. Just head over to transistor.fm/start, and you can read our "How to start a podcast" guide.

Justin:

It's got everything you need to know from equipment to software editing. It's all right there. And this could be the year that you start something that's gonna create some opportunities for you in the future. Thanks.

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