How to Start a Podcast for Free and Make Money

How to start a podcast (by James Altucher on Twitter)

This was a great post by this prolific publisher. I’ve edited this a bit and wanted to give you this info all in one shot. It was a pain to read on Twitter…something I hope Elon Musk fixes in the coming year. Without further ado, here it is:

pre-PS: All of my edits will start with NOTE:

Someone asked me how to start a podcast:

What high-end quipment they need, how to get ads, great quests, etc. These are the wrong questions. Here’s what you should do.


Take out the recorder on your iPhone, (NOTE: or Android) interview someone.

Interview your spouse about all the things that are wrong with you.

Or interview a homeless guy on the street.
You can do 3 interviews in one day.

Or call a wrong # and interview.



Go to a company that distributes podcasts.

Like Lybsyn or Omny. They take your podcast and send it to all the places that host podcasts, like Apple Itunes, Stitcher, etc. Upload your episode(s).

NOTE: Libsyn has plans as low as 5 dollars a month!

and here is a nice article describing quite a few free podcasting host options:


QUALITY? It doesn’t matter the quality of your first 2-3 or even your first ten or even your first 50.

Just get started. And you don’t need fancy equipment.

Just make sure the audio is all hearable. Worry about fancy equipment later.


John Lee Dumas, who hosts the show, “Entreprenuers on Fire” has this advice:
Double niche down.

Example: lawyers?

Niche down once: divorce lawyers
Niche down twice: divorce laywers who specialize in rich people

Now interview those lawyers about the highest stakes divorces they’ve ever handled.

Want to do it on sports? Ok, niche down once: basketball. Niche down twice: Basketball team owners and the economics of basketball.

One podcast which did this had a great title: “Denzel Washington is the best actor ever. Period.”

I don’t really double-niche down. Mine’s more general but perhaps it’s ok because I’ve been around for NINE years now. But maybe it’s a problem. Maybe I need to niche down.

NOTE: Don’t get too hung up on this. Pick a topic you’re passionate about and JUST DO IT!


There’s a lot of interview podcasts out there. Too many.

Maybe experiment with format.

Here’s some ideas:
A) Storytelling. Like the true crime podcasts.

So, for example, in the divorce lawyer scenario described above, you don’t have to interview anyone. Just research the highest profile divorces and tell the story.

B) High production. e.g. interview now just the divorce lawyers but the man and woman and kids, etc.

This is more the style of Freakonomics podcast.

C) A theme format. Like the sub-series I did with AJ Jacobs: “Good or Bad” where we took a topic like “cars” and debated “good” or “bad”.

D) Other formats. Man on the street? Seems to work well in tiktok.

Might be fun in podcasts. Phone calls with scammers?

Arguments with people who hate you?

What other formats do you think would be fun to experiment with?


What did you learn? How will it change your life? Why did you choose that guest/topic, etc?

Post it on LinkedIn, Medium, Quora if possible, Facebook as a status update (don’t link – post the entire article in the update), make a Twitter thread, etc.

NOTE: Also if you have a blog (website), which you should! Make a post about it, have the transcription and turn it into a blog post. Learn how to do a little SEO for the title, etc and boom…more potential long term traffic!


If you have a bunch of podcasts on one topic.

Get the transcripts, edit, write an intro & outro for each chapter, write intro for the whole thing, publish a book.

“Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss does this and my book, “Think Like a Billionaire”


The best thing is to go on other people’s podcasts. You can do a swap.

Again, innovative formats help as well.

8) ADS

Don’t really think about ads until you have at least 5,000 downloads per episode.

That’s the starting point. Don’t forget the average podcast has 200 downloads per episode or less.


There’s no rule.

Joe Rogan has a three hour podcast every single day. Do people listen to every one? Of course not but there’s so much content that even a casual Joe Rogan listener will listen to at least one a week.

My podcast is 3x a week.

Freakonomics is once every two weeks I think. Dan Carlin, Hardcore History, is on every few months because he does so much research. But he gets millions of downloads per episode.

10) A good rule of thumb

Don’t do an episode for the clicks.

Only have on guests/topics where you personally, are curious about the topic and the questions come straight from the heart.

Then the listener is not just listening to a boring interview but it feels more like the listener is eavesdropping on a personal conversation.

I tend to use my podcasts as personal therapy sessions with my guests. I get therapy for free.


Other great things about podcasts is it doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad hair day! And you should be trying to capture listeners email address so you can market to them later about products and services that you get paid for and to announce new episodes of your podcasts.

You want to get those earballs on you list and in your community.

Hope you dig this!

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