32 Reasons why you can’t afford NOT to start a podcast
Should you start a podcast?
As hard as it is to give generic, best-for-all advice, the answer is probably yes. There’s not many things I can say that about, but a podcast is probably one of them.
I launched the With Joe Wehbe Podcast about 11 months ago. I made 121 daily episodes, then stopped for eight months, but now I’m excited to start publishing episodes again.
It’s been a very unorthodox podcast journey, but one I’m proud of. Without major reach and distribution yet, so many positives have come from it. In that vein, the below are just 32 of the many reasons to do a podcast:
1) Business card
Podcasts are an easy place to get to know more about someone, without asking them questions. I’m blessed to have the blog and the podcast for that reason — even though I don’t have as many downloads as Joe Rogan, I’ve had prominent people in my field, including famous investors and people from the startup world listen to my podcast in an attempt to get to know a bit about me.
A disclaimer, my podcast is no guests, and is short, easy-to-consume burst-style episodes of me ranting, but still, most podcasts are a good walking advertisement of who you are.
Strangers, completely invisible to you can be listening to it and forming a relationship with you over time, in the same way you form a relationship with your favorite musician or celebrity from afar.
2) It’s informal anyway (so it’s not intimidating)
The first episode of my podcast has me confessing to how much of an idiot I am. I spent two weeks trying to figure out why my recording wasn’t working — only to realise I’d selected the computer microphone rather than my $400 USB microphone!
I also have lots of bumping noises in my early episodes… on other podcasts I’ve hear background noise, bad audio, breaks in connection, and high profile people ask to go to the bathroom. Unlike radio or TV, podcasts are a very informal medium, meaning your perfectionism or coy is not an excuse! You can just own a mistake or announce at the start of the episode that the audio was a bit crackly, and you’re sweet!
3) The commitment is low!
Remove any guilt from having to pause or stop the podcast — there’s no ongoing costs to keeping your podcast live. Like I said, I stopped publishing for eight whole months… no one died!
Who said your podcast has to go forever?
4) It’s free…
You can upload your episodes for free at anchor.fm and be up and running in no time — yes, you might want to pay for recording gear, audio editing and so forth, but you can definitely do a decent podcast with a free Zoom account and computer microphone, or by using your mobile phone’s audio-recorder and air-pods. Dude, it’s free!
5) It’s fun!
What other reason do you need? What else do you do in your spare time that’s fun, but doesn’t have any potential to pay you, stretch your interests or deliver career capital?
6) It’s easy
Especially when you consider everything that will follow…
7) Networking and relationships
If you’re ‘starting from scratch’ in your career, you live in a blessed time. For no money at all, you can create an excuse to reach out to and get a conversation with anyone you admire.
My good friends at The Louis and Kyle Show (Check me out at Episode #69!) are a classic example of two young college kids, armed with with nothing more than a bit of hunger, who decided to set up a podcast just to get in touch with people who wouldn’t have otherwise agreed to have a conversation with them.
They’ve now built an incredible network through simply asking guests to come on — high profile guests don’t necessarily need you to be Joe Rogan or Tim Ferriss to agree to come on your show. Most of the time it’s just a conversation for them that they enjoy anyway.
You’d be surprised to find who you can get on your show, and how willing they will be to be interviewed by a no-name. People love driven people.
Gabby Monardo, my co-author of 18 & Lost? So Were We started a podcast and was surprised at the responses she got from high profile guests, who were telling her how much they loved being on her show… she was just 18, and as a result, asked interesting questions that they weren’t used to being asked! So, don’t underestimate yourself just because you’re young or inexperienced.
If you’re interested in film, start a podcast interviewing film-makers. If you’re into dance, do the same for dance… check out Louis and Kyle on Twitter, and see the high profile accounts that follow them, all built through beginning and persisting with a podcast.
8) Activate people in your (extended) network
Are there people you know, who you’d like to know better? Don’t have a good reason to ask them to catch up for a chat?
Networks are a bit more complicated than simply being ‘connected to people’. Just because I know Elon Musk (I don’t) doesn’t mean I can get him to do me any favor… the same is true of your connections. Getting on the podcast can ‘activate’ connections.
This is especially true for second-degree connections — that is, people who know people you know… for example, I don’t know Elon Musk, but if I had a friend who did know Elon, I could ask them to reach out to him “to get him on the podcast”.
That beats “hey, can you tee up coffee with me and Elon?”
Scott McKeon (fellow co-author of 18 & Lost? and Co-Founder of The Constant Student) is a high school friend and my closest collaborator. In saying that, I managed to transfer into my network a lot of his great contacts when we launched our book… but not before.
We are busy people, and so we don’t just sit around making random introductions — just because Scott knows great people doesn’t mean he will randomly introduce me to them without context. We need a good reason to transfer contacts, and a podcast is an easy one to generate.
9) Refine your speaking and messaging
Not a clear speaker? Hmm… will you be better, or worse after ten episodes? How about a hundred? Speaking and delivering points clearly and with conviction has a high market value and high life value. It makes you more convincing. In saying that, I can’t be bothered hiring a speaking coach or going to toastmasters… it’s easier to do an activity with other benefits that also develops my speaking ability!
Speaking is an invaluable part of leadership, but no one is born great at it. Do the work. Start your show.
10) Learn Listening
Even more important than speaking, but not as sexy in the eyes of most. Podcasting forces you to learn listening, which forces you to learn empathy, which forces you to remain present and engage with people. You’ll develop better contacts and relationships, but also see new possibilities for improvement.
11) Reach people
Whether for business purposes or just because you have something to say! Podcasts are popular ways to digest information, as you don’t have to watch or read the content, freeing it up to accompany people for runs, walks, workouts and when they’re doing chores.
What a great way to get a message out and share your ideas… it’s best to just assume that people want to hear what you have to say, and that you do have something to say, even if it needs clarifying. Don’t make excuses like ‘no one wants to listen to me’ — it’s a process, not a magical ability you do or don’t have.
Besides, recall my audience-of-none principle… maybe you don’t need anyone to listen at all?
12) Be timeless
In 200 years, I expect my ancestors will be able to download and listen to my podcast. Will we ever retire this content from the web?
Your podcast might outlive you, even if it’s just ten episodes.
13) A resource library
Earlier this year I was doing some light consulting and coaching work, on an informal basis for a friend’s startup. One of the team members asked me for material she could listen to or read after — rather than send her someone else’s show, I sent her my podcast. She loved it, and bulk-listend to five episodes over the weekend.
I link to my shows during conversations with friends or community members, because I’ve normally made a point in an episode that I can’t re-state more clearly a second time!
I also have colleagues and friends who share the episodes with other people for the same reason — it’s a permanent resource library, that formalises ‘advice’ or points you want to make, to give them more weight and authority.
14) Help sell other products down the line
Who’s your favorite podcaster or radio presenter? Whose book would you be more likely to buy, theirs, or some other speaker or celebrity you’ve never heard of?
My point is, podcasts can engage loyal people for a long period of time. Listeners form a relationship with you, which makes them ‘warm traffic’ — people who have heard from you before. You’re no longer a stranger who shows up one day to sell them something — you’ve created trust, and trust is necessary for transactions.
Podcasters often sell books, courses, coaching services, memberships or other products and services with greater ease because they’ve warmed people up.
15) A great first step in a funnel
People go on dates before they commit to a relationship — think of a podcast as the opportunity for others to date you. Funny thing is, you don’t even need to have anything particular you want to ‘sell’ listeners, now or in the future. But if you don’t have the podcast or other form of engaging people, you don’t have the option.
You basically have the opportunity to ‘date’ hundreds or thousands of potential clients, collaborators and customers at the same time, just in case you ever want to ‘take things further’. The Fonz would have died to have those odds…
You might find me on the internet and think “nah, I’m not going to buy his book”. Instead, you listen to the podcast, because it’s free. But after listening to 100 episodes and really resonating with what I say, you might start to think “… that book might be worthwhile”. Meanwhile, I have no idea you’ve gone through this journey, it all happens while I sleep!
16) A great ‘hedge’ against a low opportunity future
You put your seat belt on to protect you against flying through the windscreen in the unlikely case of an accident. The podcast can kind of be that, but protecting you against a low-opportunity future…
You can do it during lockdown, you can do it if you move countries and travel, and it can bring you world class contacts even if you record it out of your parents’ garage! Building networks, authority, skills and knowledge helps to attract opportunities that others would chase tooth-and-nail for!
17) Passive opportunity generator
Byron Dempsey is another member of the 18 & Lost? author team. He decided to use Tik Tok to promote his podcast, and after the right tinkering it took off — he now has more than 300,000 followers on the platform for his podcast. This led to him doing a second podcast with a leading Australian speaker on consent and consequences to do with sex.
It also helped him develop an affinity and long-term association with Brent Williams (Episode No. 32) and his company, EmpowerU, which is a community that means a lot to Byron.
It also got him introduced to me, and got him involved in our book! A mutual friend introduced us because he knew that Driven Young (Byron’s podcast) is about youth education as well!
None of this would have happened if he never started and persisted with the podcast.
“Opportunities bring opportunities” as I say.
18) Show people you’re interested and stand out
The above example with Byron is another great example here. Imagine Byron was interested in education, but never made the podcast or did anything about it.
This means that people in your network can’t make introductions or present you opportunities — without the podcast, Byron wouldn’t have made these great contacts, and wouldn’t have become an author (not yet anyway!).
19) Develop new project ideas
Let’s keep going with Byron. As his podcast grew and our book 18 & Lost? So Were We was nearing completion, Byron and I had a conversation about a post-high school program, bringing together the best guidance, resources and experiences to set up young Australians for post-high school life.
It was something he’d talked about a while ago. Precisely because he was building his network through the podcast, he now had a list of great contacts from personal finance education, personal development, outdoor week-in-the-bush programs, the 530 Club and more. Now, the Intentional Gap Year is running it’s first beta program!
Though it wasn’t through a podcast, Scott McKeon and I decided to start the Constant Student Community after the experiences we had making our book, 18 & Lost? — projects lead you to better projects, but you have to take the steps to do the first one!
If you had a podcast in your interest area, you now have the leverage to launch bigger things thanks to the network you’ve grown.
20) Build communities and movements around your podcast
The same logic as above. ‘Birds of a feather flock together’ they say — if you listened to Driven Young or the With Joe Wehbe Podcast and got a lot out of them, wouldn’t it be interesting to meet the other people who are also interested in these podcasts?
These people probably have the same values and interests as you. Podcasters and creators have tools like vibely, circle, and mighty networks to create their own ‘social media’ or online community that brings together followers.
Oh… you can also charge a recurring annual fee for membership! (Liam Hounsell’s substack and podcast will be helping educate people on how to do this).
21) Change people’s lives
I’ve had friends and strangers reach out to let me know the impact my podcast has had on them… it’s helped them ‘understand what a meaningful life should look like’, take risks and make career and job changes. Byron shares a lot of incredible stories from the people who reach out to him too, who’ve gained the confidence to start businesses or get back to pursuing their real interests in life after a bad post-high school experience.
Even if your podcast is not about personal development, education, or philosophy, don’t underestimate how much leadership you show to your network or friendship group by doing something ‘unusual’ like making a podcast. It forces them to consider whether they might do something creative and self-direct like that too.
A lot of impact from recording a bit of audio every week!
22) Gain confidence
You are the size of the challenges with which you face yourself, and you need confidence to take on challenges… so doing a podcast that helps you get comfortable with influential people and speaking is a major ‘gym’ to prepare you for bigger leaps in the future, that will in turn make you grow even more – it’s a powerful feedback loop – all you have to do is kick it off and watch it get easier and easier each week.
23) Become an ‘expert’ in something you knew nothing about
Imagine I made a podcast tomorrow about cryptocurrency — I don’t know anything about cryptocurrency, but because podcasts are informal, that’s ok. ‘Hey I’m Joe, and I want to learn about crypto! If you know nothing about this too, then follow my journey as I unpack wise and knowledgeable people in the space!’
After interviewing 30 people, I now know wayyyyy more than the average person about crypto — just by talking to people. I will now be the go-to for crypto questions in my community, and might even be able to ‘consult’ in it. At some point I could probably make a book, ‘what I learnt in one year interviewing the world’s crypto experts’ and sell it. I could use extracts from the podcast and transcribe them for sections in the book with the highlights.
Voila, I’m now probably an ‘expert’ in the eyes of many in crypto! What comes next? Speaking at conferences? Being featured in magazines? Getting a job in the space to learn more? Who knows… you can do this in any field or niche, and it’s probably more efficient than a degree.
24) Establish your authority in an area
See above. Whether it’s something brand new, something in development or something you already feel very competent and established in, the beauty of a podcast is that it’s never too early in your journey to talk about it in this format.
25) Enter a new world of possibilities — The Thousand Doors
My philosophy of the Thousand Doors is all about how ‘opportunities lead to opportunities’, setting you on a new trajectory in life when you open one Door — there will always be more unexpected Doors to come after it!
26) Capture your thinking at a moment in time
It can be a powerful experience to return to thoughts and perspectives you had at a given point in time and reflect on how much you’ve grown… you’ll also cringe a little at your past self, but that’s healthy! It’s a sign of growth!
27) It compounds over time
Compounding means to improve at an improving rate. Compare a podcast to an Instagram post — once it’s posted, it gets buried lower in the feed by other posts and is harder to find again.
But a podcast episode with 80 listens is sure to gain more and more in the future. Every now and then someone finds your podcast and then goes back to the start to listen to old episodes. I still get messages from people saying they’ve made it past the 100 episode mark for With Joe Wehbe.
A podcast is like buying a property, or investing in shares — the value it delivers grows over time, and keeps improving. The earlier you invest, the more you’ll have later on!
28) Complements other business, project or career endeavours
This should already be clear from all the above examples! I know a lot of people who run podcasts and still work full-time jobs. In our busy lives, it is one habit you can still fit into your life while working full-time, but one that is also a release from your normal day-to-day. Better still, it’s also super productive and proactive.
Imagine you were going for a job as a lawyer, and had a podcast unpacking jurisprudence or the ethics behind the legal system — you’re going to stand out compared to other applicants, because you’re showing commitment and interest.
29) Helps you LEARN in a more effective way
We have grossly undervalued conversations as a form of learning in today’s society. People are focused on lectures, books and online courses, but opportunities for conversation were the cornerstone of early educational organisations like the Lyceum — there is nothing like being able to ask your own questions and gain feedback in real time.
30) One of the easiest projects to do with other people
Louis Shulman (remember the Louis & Kyle Show) reflected that he would not have been as likely to persist with the podcast if he hadn’t been doing it with his good friend Kyle Bishop. Even though this made it harder to schedule episodes with guests at mutually convenient times, it was a major net positive for the experience.
The biggest obstacle people face with projects is normally being too isolated and lacking the right official or unofficial collaborators. More than writing, podcasts are the easiest thing to get other people to commit to — it’s not as formal and big a commitment as a business. It’s light-hearted and flexible. You can easily do it with a friend, even if they’re not business-savvy or have rocket-scientist intelligence.
Even though I don’t have guests on With Joe Wehbe, I’ve rediscovered the consistency for Season 2 by bringing my good friend Luke Smith on as a co-host! It’s made it way easier to be accountable and consistent. Doing things with the right people makes them ten times easier.
31) Can be very time efficient
Podcasts can definitely be a lot of work if you want them to, especially if you have high standards and lofty ambitions, but they don’t need to be. Remember, start terribly, fail and learn fast.
32) One of the best hobbies in the world, that you’d enjoy doing anyway
In our community, I encourage everyone to start either a blog (writing habit) or podcast, and walk people through the steps to setting one up. For promising people who show a real dedication to their show, we also help one another find amazing guests from within our networks.
Try it once, and commit to 10 episodes at the very least. Remember, I didn’t publish episodes for a year, and it was still useful for me.
Your podcast could change someone’s life in a very direct way, be it now or hundreds of years into the future! There’s not many things that is true for. For all of these reasons above, it seems to me that you can’t afford not to start a podcast. So what are you waiting for?
This blog post might inspire 10,000 people to start podcasts
It might get them over the line, doing it earlier, and get people to super charge their careers and their impact. Or, perhaps only 10 friends will read this… the thing is, I just don’t know. It took me about 3.5 hours to put it all together, but the benefit it could have makes it a worthy investment of my time, even though there are other things I can be doing.
When you think about the ‘Thousand Doors’ and potential impact of your actions, I would argue that you, just like me, cannot afford not to share your ideas and the great ideas of others.
You don’t know until you try.
Keep opening Doors for others people, and good luck with your podcasts.
– Joe, the Doorman.