5 Steps to Creating a Podcast Budget

It’s a myth that setting up a podcast needs to be costly or expensive (of course it can be!) but podcasting on a budget is totally achievable. If you’ve been wondering, how much does it cost to run a podcast? It’s a tricky question.

Whatever your budget or level, you can make podcasting work for you – the cost to create a podcast can be determined by you. The important thing to know is that having a podcast budget, alongside a clear plan and defined goals, are key in helping you stay on track and make your podcast the success you desire.

1. Understand Your Income

Perhaps you’re not quite at the stage of earning money from your podcast, but wherever you’re at you’ll need a some cash or credit to get started on your podcast adventure and to keep it running.

Therefore step number 1 is to make a clear goal of exactly what you want to do with your new podcast. By defining the purpose of your podcast and its format (how and where you are producing it etc) will help you create the foundations of the budget you need to create.

Once you have your vision clear in your mind you need to look at what money you’ve got coming in. Write down exactly what incomes you’ve got, whether it be a fixed one-time cash injection or an on-going monthly source, this way you’ll know exactly what you have to spend.

TIP: Always remember to take into consideration whether this is your profession or a hobby – how much you initially input will differ if you see this having cash rewards or not!

2. Determine your fixed costs

Next on your to-do list is to identify all of your fixed costs necessary for running your podcast.

Based on your planning around how you’re going to produce your content, you’ll need to do some research what options there are for your podcast’s needs and requirements. The things you need to take into consideration are items like your host platform or even your heating bill for the space where you record your podcast – make sure to put it all in there!

One of the main fixed costs (your host platform) can be kept to a minimum, by choosing free or low-cost podcast hosting platforms such as:

Free options:

  • Spreaker (Five different options, from completely free, $6 ‘On-Air Talent’ plan, to ‘Station Plans’ at $100 p/m paid annually). A bit of a 5-in-one, Spreaker allows you to take care of every aspect of your podcast, from creation, editing, distribution, listening and even monetization – and with free to professional level plans available there’s something for all podcasters.  
  • SoundCloud (Free to $11 a month for a Pro Plan). SoundCloud has a free option which allows budding broadcasters to publish via RSS and is one of the most used platforms out there. Although it’s worth noting that it’s not specifically focussed on podcasting.

Low cost:

  • Libsyn (From $5 to $75 a month). One of the oldest dedicated podcast host sites and extremely popular with many podcasters around the world – however if you have in mind to monetize your podcast in the future, it’s worth remembering that monetization isn’t one of the features offered.
  • Blubrry (From $12 to $80+ a month). Blubrry, also a long running platform (started in 2005) and allows podcasters to create a fully encompassing podcast website with plugin.

Also, when it comes to editing your podcast, there’s also free editing software like: Audacity, which allows you to record directly from a microphone to Audacity for free. Compatible with both Mac and Windows.

TIP: Make sure you haven’t missed anything by taking a look through past bank statements and tick off everything in there.

Identify your variable (and one-off expenses)

Variable costs are those which are necessary for your business to continue functioning but change from month to month. And, if this is the beginning of your podcasting journey you’ll also need to include your one-off costs – money to cover your basic equipment: microphone and headset and also some $ to create some awesome cover art (we’ve written a guide to creating great cover art, here).

Wondering how to identify your variable costs? Look at what you’ve spent on office supplies, marketing / promotional costs or replacing old equipment over the last 6 months and calculate an average outgoing cost. About to start your podcast? Try and predict what you might spend (we’ve written a blog on launching a podcast you might want to take a look at) and use this to structure your budget for the first few months, once you’re up and running you can cross-check to see if your prediction is in line with the reality!

TIP: Variable and one-off costs are usually the fun ones so they’re the most important ones to keep in check in your budget!

4. Make a rainy day fund

We would also highly recommend incorporating to your budget a fixed amount that you put away each month as part of a contingency fund. Putting away a little bit of money on a regular basis will mean you never go into crisis when something unexpected comes up!

TIP: An easy way to break down your money is the 50/30/20 method. Attributing 50% to your necessary items, 30% to the things you want and 20% to saving for the future and a rainy day!

5. Create your budget!

Now’s the time for the fun, creating the budget! You can build it on paper, Excel or Google Sheets or try one of the many Apps out there.

Hopefully, we’ve helped debunk the myth that starting a podcast isn’t achievable without stacks of money – whatever your budget there’s a way to do it and the big expenses can always be postponed till when your podcast has some traction and you start earning!

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