How Much Does It Cost To Start A Podcast?

Affordable dream-chasing for beginners.

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Photo by Tomasz Gawłowski on Unsplash

I published the first episode of my first podcast last week. I’m pretty pleased. In the time it took for me to go from “hey, I want to do that,” to “Welcome to A Single Serving Podcast,” I had to do a little research, watch a fair amount of YouTube, and spend a little money.

Below, I will provide you with my mindset as well as all startup podcast costs I incurred, in the hopes that I can help other people with no background in this stuff whatsoever create something that’s important to them, too. This is by no means the “best” way to start a podcast, if there is such a thing. This is information on getting started for people who just want to start.

I believe if you want to create something, create it. From my perspective, there should be as few things holding us back from creativity as possible, and in that spirit, I decided not to care about the opinions of professional podcasters and audio people who will likely laugh at my sound quality and certainly my editing skills. I simply wanted to create the basic scaffolding I needed to give myself a space to fill with content. I was a little intimidated at first, but after digging in, it’s really not that hard. Or that expensive.

This is precisely the amount of money I spent in order to take my podcast from an idea to a thing you can listen to on iTunes right now:

  1. Equipment: $163 (microphone and adapter—C hub—purchased on Amazon, I already owned headphones and my laptop, but you need both of those, too)
  2. Logo Design: $47.25 via Fiverr (I had a discount code that I found on Retailmenot)
  3. Music: $79.99 via Marmoset (personal use license, I can use it for this podcast forever, though if my podcast ever makes money I will upgrade to a business use license which is $199)
  4. Hosting: $12/month via Buzzsprout (You have to host your podcast somewhere, I chose Buzzsprout, at a level that lets me host 3 hours per month for $12. I will need hosting for 3.3–4 hours per month, and will be charged $4 for the extra hour. The next level up is 6 hours for $18/month which at this point I do not need.)
  5. Recording: Free* via Zencastr (I record using Zencastr because I only own one mic, have no studio, and want to talk to people all over the world. I can record up to 8 hours per month for free on this platform and I really like it.)
  6. Editing: Free* via Garageband (I edit my podcast myself, using software I already had on my computer. The quality is what you’d imagine a novice editor to be able to achieve. I’d love to pay for actual postproduction, but can’t unless my podcast becomes revenue-generating. Also I really like being able to do everything myself and operate a podcast on my own schedule. I’m into the whole self reliance thing. That being said, I’d gladly give that up for fancy edits and someone who understands how the hell volume works.)
  7. YouTube tutorials & chatting with two friends to learn how to do all of this stuff: Free. There are classes you can take, etc but I found that the information available for free on YouTube was more than enough to get me started. I had a very kind friend suggest the type of microphone I should get and another friend who runs her own successful podcast give me advice on things like episode frequency, breaking it up into seasons, etc. I am very thankful for them both but again, YouTube really does contain everything you absolutely need to know.

Total Startup Cost: $302.24

Total Monthly Operating Cost: $12

From my perspective, I started a podcast on the cheap—I do my own editing, I don’t own a pop filter, etc. But you could do it even cheaper, if you wanted to. Don’t want intro music? Skip it. Care to design your own logo? You certainly can. Don’t want a mic that costs $99? You actually can record straight into Zencastr using nothing more than the mic built into your laptop. I am certain professional podcasters will think I am a) cheap and b) a moron for suggesting this, but I’m letting you know it’s possible.

If I could, I’d have started a podcast investing more, not less. I’d love to have more/better equipment, I’d love to pay for professional post production each time, and I’d love to have a soundproof space to record that isn’t beholden to the sound of my radiators pumping ridiculous amounts of heat into my apartment, which you can clearly hear in Episode 2. (For those suggesting I record in my closet, I don’t have one.)

But for me, starting a podcast was simply about starting a podcast. It was about getting creative, getting it out there, and gaining experience in this medium, sans perfection.

I think perfection and stress over perfection, or stress over what other people think, can keep us from doing things we want to do. In fact, as I wrote this I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just an apology for any quality insecurities I have. My podcast sounds pretty damn good all things considered, and my confidence in producing it will grow with time. I want to talk to single women and make single women listening feel better, and less alone. I have everything I need to do that.

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, if it’s something you really need to do—you’ll know. Since I started following more of my instincts and listening to fewer of my insecurities, I’ve been having a great time, and creating things I love. I hope you’ll do the same, if you’re so inclined. The pull toward creating something new is kind of obvious. Listen to it.

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