How to start a podcast business

Ever consider turning your talent for talking into an independent business? Starting a podcast business might be a great idea. In fact, today, nearly 6.5 million people in the UK listen to a podcast each week. 

If you put together interesting content for people to listen to, all you’ll need to do is grow an audience to find viable revenue opportunities. Podcasting can be fruitful if you know how to navigate it

Still, starting a business can be a lot of work, and it can take a lot of time. If you’re not sure how to start a podcast business, here’s a great place to start. 

This guide will cover how to start a podcast business, including:

  • Planning for success
  • Setting up your business
  • Organising the essentials 
  • Marketing and branding 

Planning your podcast business

Starting a podcast business can feel like a difficult journey. But, with the proper planning, you can get it done efficiently and create a solid finished product. Let’s go through some of the key planning steps.  

Conduct market research 

To get a complete understanding of the podcast market, you might look at:   

  • Industry statistics. 
  • Relevant articles and studies.
  • Podcast ranking lists.
  • Popular podcasts. 

This research will show you the demand and popularity of certain topics and genres. It will also expose competitors and untapped opportunities. 

Even more, this research will help you understand your target audience, though it will differ depending on the type of podcast you do.  

Sharpen your skills 

Once you get an idea of the market, knowing how to start a podcast business means knowing how to make one. You’ll need the right skills to create and edit episodes of exciting content.  

If you don’t have experience or education in audio editing, you may seek a course to sharpen your skills. Udemy has some options, such as this Audio Editing course. 

Aside from formal training, consider reading up on podcasting to broaden your knowledge. The better your podcast quality, the easier it’ll be to draw in listeners. 

Here are some helpful things to look into: 

Compile the equipment 

Another essential step to planning your podcast is compiling the necessary equipment. Though you can record a podcast on your smartphone, professional tools will improve the quality. 

So, to create a quality podcast, you’ll likely need: 

  • A microphone
  • Headphones 
  • Recording software
  • A computer 
  • Audio editing software 
  • Sound mixing board 

Compare equipment options at shops like Amazon, Gear4Mixer, or Andertons

You’ll also need a good spot to record your podcast. If you plan to record from home, you might set up in a box room or closet. Choose a room with furniture or clothing to soften the sound and avoid reverb. 

Alternatively, you could rent a recording studio for a couple of hours a week. 

Planning your podcast 

With your background research done, you can begin to piece together your own podcast. 

Pick a topic

To start, you’ll need to pick a topic. Podcasts can focus on nearly anything, with popular genres ranging from comedy and horror to lifestyle and advice. 

Some podcasts explore a specific topic or question, while others use public personalities to cover more general commentary. 

If you already have an idea of what you’d like to talk about, you can research this topic a bit to ensure there’s an audience for it. Then, it’ll be easy to come up with episode ideas.  

On the other hand, if you’re unsure where to begin, think about what you’re interested in or knowledgeable about. If you’re an avid reader, you might start a book review podcast. If you love crafting, it could be a podcast about that.  

Bonus! Here are a few examples of popular podcasts in different genres: 

Decide on a name

Once you have your podcast idea and have decided there’s an audience for it, you’ll need to think of a name. Be sure that the name is memorable and relevant to the topic. 

For example, Serial is interesting because it’s short and memorable while also hinting at its focus. 

Choose a streaming platform 

Next, you’ll need a place to upload your podcast episodes. Though you may upload them to your website, adding them to a streaming platform will help you access their existing audience. 

You could look into posting your podcast to:

Find sources of income 

To make your podcast into a profitable business, you’ll need to find ways to earn money from it. 

Many podcast streaming platforms offer monetisation tools and paid subscription opportunities. But, as you grow your audience, you can also reach out to your favourite relevant brands to earn paid sponsorships

Another way to earn money from your podcast is to introduce fans’ merchandise. You could sell T-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, and mugs, for example.  

Plus, platforms like Patreon help artists earn money from their content. This platform lets you upload your episodes or bonus content for exclusive subscription access. 

Write a business plan and budget  

After outlining your podcast, put your idea together into a business plan. This plan will outline the structure of your business, including it’s values and objectives. 

You can also establish a long term growth plan. For example, you might want to expand your podcast network by eventually producing other shows. 

Another essential part of your plan is the starting budget, which outlines what you hope to spend and earn for your business

Start by listing the startup costs of your podcast and how much it’ll cost to run. You might need to pay monthly streaming subscriptions and software fees.

Setting up your podcast business

With a strong plan, you can move on to the logistics. To start a podcast business, you’ll need to make it into a legal entity.  

Registering your business

First, register your podcast business with the UK government as either a:

  • Sole tradership: You’re personally liable for this business
  • Limited company: This business is a separate legal entity from its director.

For the beginning of your podcast business, you might choose the sole trader route as it requires fewer regulations and fewer taxes.  

Preparing for taxes 

Business owners also need to manage their own taxes. People who receive a variable income must submit a Self Assessment tax return

So, you’ll need to keep records of what you spend and earn on your business to report accurate numbers. 

You’ll likely need to pay income or dividend tax and national insurance. Limited companies must pay corporation tax. 

See also: Making Tax Digital: What is Making Tax Digital (MTD)?

Finding insurance 

As you set up your business, you’ll also need to consider how to protect it. Insurance will defend you from financial risk. For example, you could insure your recording equipment or get intellectual property insurance for your podcast. 

Copyrighting your content

As you create original content for listeners, you’ll want to protect it from theft and reproduction. Luckily, you get automatic copyright protection when sharing original content in the UK. 

You can learn more about copyright protection here. 

With that in mind, be sure you don’t accidentally steal content for your podcast that doesn’t belong to you, such as music and research. 

Organising the essentials of your business 

Setting up will help you get started, but structure is crucial to keeping your business going. So another part of how to start a podcast business is structuring it for success. 

Organising your day 

Good time management will help you build your podcast up from the roots. 

So, a business management tool like Google Workspace lets you organise your daily operations. With your contacts, calendar, and documents in one place, you can stay productive and professional.

If you struggle to keep up with your to-do list, you might also want to use a project management tool. Platforms like monday or Trello can help break up big projects and get things done promptly.  

See also: How to improve time management 

Scheduling your content 

You’ll need to release regular podcast content to build an audience. So, consider creating a content calendar and setting a consistent release date. 

For example, you might choose to record episodes on Wednesdays to release them on Fridays. 

Alongside podcast episodes, you’ll need to create regular promotional material (see the marketing section). Include these posts in your content calendar to make sure people know about your releases. 

Hint! monday can help with content planning as well as project management. 

Managing your finances 

Organised finances are foundational to your podcast’s success. In fact, the HMRC expects all businesses to do financial accounting or record financial transactions. You must also keep those records for about six years

It’s also an essential part of tracking your performance

Business current account 

The best way to organise your finances is by separating them from your personal ones. Dividing your personal and business transactions will help you avoid mixing them up or making simple bookkeeping mistakes. 

To separate your finances, you can open a business current account, a bank account specifically designed for your business. 

Modern accounting software 

You’ll also need modern accounting software to analyse and track your finances. Countingup, the two-in-one business account and accounting app, can help. With this app, you can manage your finances all in one place. 

The Countingup app automates and simplifies essential financial management tasks. 

It offers helpful tools like: 

  • Automatic expense categorisation– to locate transactions and maintain accurate books.
  • Invoicing on the go– create and send unlimited invoices from your phone. The app then automatically matches them to payments. 
  • Year-round tax estimates– to avoid unnecessary surprises. 
  • Cash flow insights– to stay on top of your financial performance. 

With these tools, you can save time and make better business decisions.

Marketing and branding your podcast business

Once you know how to start a podcast business, you’ll need to market it to grow an audience. The bigger your audience, the more money you’ll be able to earn. 

Developing a podcast brand 

Branding your podcast is an essential part of developing a loyal audience. In other words, this is the tone of your podcast and design that represents it. Start by considering an eye-catching colour theme. 

Then you can develop a memorable tone based on the content. For example, if your podcast is a comedy, the tone could be goody and sarcastic. 

Once you outline a brand identity, use it design: 

  • A website – see how to make your own website
  • A podcast logo– you can use this on your marketing materials 
  • A podcast thumbnail – this will show up when people listen to your podcast
  • Social media posts – see below 
  • Advertisements – you could use Google Ads to target your audience. 

You could outsource this to a graphic designer or illustrator to get a unique finished product or do it yourself using a tool like Canva

Marketing on social media 

Marketing your podcast on social media will help you find your audience and spread your content around. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are popular platforms for podcasts to promote themselves. 

For example, you could post: 

  • Updates
  • Quotes 
  • Thoughts relevant to your podcast topic 
  • Events and news 
  • Episode release reminders

Plus, you might try adding clips of yourself recording the podcast on TikTok or Instagram reels.

Email marketing  

To build a following for your podcast, you could try your hand at email marketing. With tools like Hubspot, you can promote a subscription link and send weekly or monthly updates about your podcast. 

See also: How to start an email marketing campaign

Starting to share your thoughts 

So, now you know how to start a podcast business. All you need to do is sit down with your microphone and start sharing your thoughts. 

With a little bit of dedication and a lot of planning, your podcast can transform from raw audio to a high earning business with a following. How does that sound? 

Simplify your finances with Countingup

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today.