Ep 80: How Much Does it Cost to Start and Run a Podcast? – Breaking Down My Podcasting Costs

I want to provide you with a detailed breakdown of how much it really costs me to start and run my podcast, The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Podcasting.

This episode is honest, and it’s gritty. And it’s something that not enough podcasters are covering or being honest about.

I’m going to be completely transparent and break down every expense – from software subscriptions to website fees. My hope is that this will give you a realistic idea of what to budget for if you want to start podcasting or aren’t sure about your own podcast spend.

I encourage you to calculate your own cost per episode, whether podcasting is a hobby or a business. It’s important to understand exactly what you are investing and make sure it aligns with the value you receive. I’ll give you some strategies and podcasting tips to help you calculate your cost per episode and also insights into the tools that I use for my podcast.

Tools mentioned:

Highlights:

  • Podcast hosting costs with Captivate.fm
  • Graphics creation with Canva
  • Software used for podcasting: Riverside FM and Summarize
  • Website expenses breakdown: domain name, WordPress, Elementor Pro, WP Rocket
  • Email marketing with ConvertKit
  • Cart checkout with ThriveCart
  • Total annual spend on the podcast
  • Comparison to podcast manager costs
  • Using AI tools like Summarize for content creation
  • Importance of knowing your podcast costs and evaluating spending per episode

Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:02:00 Podcast Software Expenses
  • 00:04:26 Website Expenses
  • 00:05:11 Tools for Email Marketing and Cart Checkout
  • 00:08:20 Cost breakdown of running a podcast
  • 00:11:18 Streamlining Content Creation with AI Tools
  • 00:12:09 The Cost of Podcasting: A Breakdown of Expenses

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Transcript

00:00:00 How Much Does It Cost to Start and Run a Podcast?

[00:00:00] Verity: Hello there everybody. Welcome back to another episode of The Lazy Girl's Guide to Podcasting. In this episode, we are gonna be talking about how much does it cost to start and run a podcast. Obviously, I'm gonna preface this and say that this is based on my own experience. I am gonna be completely honest. I am breaking down every single penny. I've literally gone down to the penny as to how much I spend monthly and yearly, and then I've broken it down and worked out cost per episode as well for how much it costs who run Lady Girl's Guide to Podcasting. And I have to say, I was a little bit surprised when I when I came up with the final stats. But I'm hoping that this is just gonna be really, really useful for you in terms of anybody who's thinking, oh my gosh, it's gonna cost me loads of money or it's gonna cost me not very much at all. And, obviously, you can go more expensive or cheaper than the options that I use, but I'm just gonna give you this quick this quick rundown.

00:01:04 Verity's Podcast Hosting and Design Costs

[00:01:04] Verity: So first of all, I use Captivate. Fm for my podcast hosting. Actually, it is a 7 day free trial, but then I pay $19 per month, so that's $1.19 per month on their month day plan. I could save a couple of dollars a month and actually sign up for the annual subscription, but at this point in time, I don't. I just pay $19 per month. For Canva, I use Canva to create all of the graphics, all of the promotional materials, my cover art for the podcast, the episodic, artwork as well, and that costs me £99 here in the UK. So about a $120, I spent a year on that. I do have the pro version, that was just because I wanted to have access to literally everything that it it offers. And I think that it is money incredibly well spent. So I just pay that as 1 month sum.

00:02:00 Podcast Software Expenses

[00:02:00] Verity: The next piece of software that I use is Riverside FM. I pay $19 per month on the monthly standard plan. Similar to Captivate, I could actually save myself a couple of dollars per month if I just paid for the annual plan, but at the moment, I don't. I just pay $19 per month for their standard plan. That's what I use for recording and editing all of my episodes. I also use summarize. The first 60 minutes of using summarize are completely free, and then you can either pay as you go £15 sorry, $15 per hour or $10 per hour when paid monthly with a minimum purchase of 2 hours per month. So, basically, in short, I pay around $20 per month for Summarize, which is more than enough for me because I only do, like, you know, short 10 to 20 minute episodes. $20 per month is more than enough. And what I sometimes do is actually I go between their pay as you go and the monthly plan because the minutes, if you don't use them, they just roll over.

00:03:04 Tools and Services Used by Verity for her Podcasting

[00:03:04] Verity: So you can quickly accrue minutes and then just come off the monthly plan and just go down to pay as you go and use those up and then go back on the monthly plan, whatever, you know, works for you. The next thing I use is Vidyo dotai, and that's Vidyo spelled v I d y o. I actually use the free plan of this. I don't pay for VideoAI. The reason I do that is because I don't edit my full episodes in VideoAI. I create the clips in Riverside, and then I upload them. You get a free 75 minutes per month for creating clips on VideoAI. So if I'm create already up just uploading minute long clips, then it doesn't I don't use very much of that at all. Across the month, I'm still left with, like, 55 minutes at the end of each month, you know, if not more. So I don't pay for that. Hostinger is my, is my next product that I pay for. So Hostinger costs me approximately a $165 ish per month per month. No. No. It doesn't per year. I had to work that out, though. I pay a 131 point 8. I pay £131.88. So I had to do the conversion, which, like I said, comes out as about a $166, and that is for my WordPress hosting because I host my website across on WordPress. So Hostinger does that for me.

00:04:26 Verity's Website Expenses Breakdown

[00:04:26] Verity: And I also pay them £13.12 every year for the domain name of veritiesongomdot com, which is approximately $16 per year. WordPress, as I said, I use that. That is free. I have a subscription, an annual subscription to Elementor Pro, and that is a kind of web design, drop and drag web design, gives me loads of extra features when I'm building my WordPress website that charges me $59 per year. I also have WP Rocket, which is a plugin, a WordPress plugin, which is $59 per year, and what that does is it's a caching plugin, so it helps, it just really helps speed up the website and it makes sure everything is running as smoothly as possible.

00:05:11 Tools for Email Marketing and Cart Checkout

[00:05:11] Verity: I use ConvertKit for my email marketing, which costs a $108 per year. Now there is there are cheaper alternatives to Convertkit, but I like their creator plan because it lets me set up all these different tags and segmentations and what have you. So at the moment, that has cost me a $108 per year. Now the other one which I do also use is ThriveCart. Now ThriveCart is a one time payment. It is a cart checkout platform, which costs, for their base plan, $495, but that is it. That is a lifetime offer. You don't need to pay anything else after that. So you can set up these amazing checkout funnels with upsells, downsells. It's brilliant. And what I've actually done is I upgraded and I paid $690. And like I said, this was a one off payment for their pro plan. And with that, you get this really awesome affiliate center, so I can set up my own affiliates through that. I can do automatic sales tax calculations. There's more features when it comes to use management.

00:06:14 ThriveCart features and benefits discussed by Verity

[00:06:14] Verity: I can add my own custom domain functionality. So rather than it being like thrivecart.verity.com or whatever, it's just checkout.veritiesongkon.com. I think I have it set up, but I can personalize it and really make sure that it is integrated with my with my branding. And then I can also do JV contracts, so that's joint venture contracts. So if I go and do a piece of work with somebody else, then I can set it up in ThriveCart that we both get paid, you know, equal shares for that or however much we however we want to break that down as opposed to doing affiliate links through a, you know, through a partner, if I've partnered with somebody to do that piece of work. So as I said, Thrivecart is a one time payment. Oh, and the other cool thing about it is you also get access to something called ThriveLearn, which is kind of like a Teachable or Thinkific. It's a, it's a learning platform basically. So you can build courses on there and it's unlimited. And what's really cool about that is that once you have paid that fee, and the learn platform is completely free essentially because you're you've not got, like, teachable and think if they can learn words and all the rest of them.

00:07:21 Thrivecart as a Cost-Effective Learning Platform

[00:07:21] Verity: You've not got ongoing costs to access, you know, that learning platform, which is really cool. I was using it for some time. I have moved away from Thrivecart Learn, I will say to Lifter LMS, but that's only because I wanted everything housed in my WordPress site. I used Thrivecart to sell access to the membership, which then people have redirected once they paid back to my WordPress website where LifterLMS just hosts and does everything for me. So as I said, Thrivecart was just a one time payment. So how does this actually work out? Well, if we take Thrivecart out of it, because as I said, that is not an ongoing payment. That was one time I paid for it a couple of years ago now, $690, and I said that is now for me, I feel like that's paid off. Because as I said, I've had it a couple of years. And over a couple of years, I've used it, goodness knows how many times, it's replaced so many other things that would have cost me more ongoing.

00:08:20 Cost breakdown of running a podcast

[00:08:20] Verity: So I'm taking Thrivecart out of this equation. But if I add up everything else, then my total annual spend on my podcast comes to. And I was a little bit shook when I found this out and figured this out. $1,303.99. $1300. I yeah. I can't actually remember exactly how that much that works out in, British pounds, but it's just over £1,000 I think. But how it does work down is it breaks down to about $108 per month, which is around 80 £5 here in the UK. And then I went a little bit further just to break this down by cost of episode. Now this is more of a range figure than an exact figure. And what I mean by that is because for Lazy Girl's Guide to Podcasting, I put out at least 1 episode a week. Sometimes I put out 2 episodes per week. So depending on whether or not I put out 1 or 2 episodes will affect the cost. Argument's sake, if I only did 1 episode per week, then cost per episode with all of this included would be around 25 dollars per episode. If I do 2 episodes per week for a whole year, it works out hours around $12.50 per episode. Basically, which if you're in the UK, works out as around £9.92 to £19.84 per episode. Now some of you, particularly if you haven't started podcasting yet, might be thinking, oh my god, that is like that's insane. That's a crazy amount per episode. I don't think it actually is because when you research it, on average, if you were to buy yourself a podcast manager or hire yourself a podcast manager, podcast managers charge between $55100 per episode, and you're still doing the recording. When they take over whatever else it is that you delegate to them, 50 to 500 per episode is an average, but I have actually heard of some people paying over a $1,000 per episode for their podcast episode to be produced once they have, you know, once they've recorded it.

00:10:31 Cost-effective podcast production: a deeper look

[00:10:31] Verity: So when you kind of look at it like that, I'm then thinking, well, I could be, you know, paying someone up to $500 to produce my episodes and do all the Canva graphics and all the rest of it. And instead, actually for me to do it for 12.50, that's pretty cheap. Even if I'm paying $25 that's still half what is on average the cheapest podcast manager. So I'm not saying don't get a podcast manager, obviously. That's a whole separate conversation. And I'm friends with podcast managers. I know some amazing podcast managers. You know, that's that's not what this conversation is about. What I'm saying is don't just take things on face value of thinking, oh my gosh, she pays $25 per episode. Like I said, to me, that's that's cost effective and that is money saved, but it's also time saved because I use content such as summarize.

00:11:18 Streamlining Content Creation with AI Tools

[00:11:18] Verity: As I said, that is a great AI tool and it really, really cuts down my time that I need to take when I'm creating emails, when I'm creating social media captions. I mean, I don't use them completely off. I do, you know, change them and tweak them so that they sound more like me. And sometimes I add things in and take things away, what have you, but it saves ages on generating all of that content myself. And I've done a review episode on Summarize before. I can't remember exactly which number it is, but I'll have it linked down in the show notes so you can check that out. And yes, at the end of the day, I don't have to pay for some of the levels of things that I am paying for. For example, you could argue use the free Canva and not Canva Pro. 100%. You could also argue that I don't need to use Riverside and I could use GarageBand instead because that's free because I've got a Mac.

00:12:09 The Cost of Podcasting: A Breakdown of Expenses

[00:12:09] Verity: Absolutely. I could record an edit on GarageBand. You could also argue that I don't need Elementor Pro. I don't need, WP Rocket. Elementor would be fine. WP Rocket, I could find a in a less expensive or a cheaper solution. You know, there's there's so many way of thinking, yes, actually, I could not use that and save the money instead. Again, Hostinger, I could, because I use Captivate, I get a free podcasting website as part of my Captivate, which I don't have to have my own domain name to. So actually I could save all of that money. There's a ton of money that I could save here, and you can definitely podcast for cheaper than me. However, I did think it would just be useful to run through my own costs so that you can get an idea as to somebody's, somebody's cost of podcasting because, again, I think that's something that just doesn't get talked about enough. I don't think people are honest enough about the costings or actually don't even know what their podcast is costing them. And I think that's really important as well. Whether it's a hobby, whether or not it's a business, whatever, I think it's important to know what your podcast costings are. And I'd really urge you, if you do already have a podcast, to actually work out just roughly what is your cost per episode. I'm not saying you need to increase that or decrease that, but it might be quite eye opening as to what you're actually spending. And particularly, if you're trying to run your podcast as a business, then that kind of information is really, really useful. And it's almost necessary because you need to know how much you're spending to then know how much you need to make to cover the costs of the podcast. So I really, really encourage you to, you know, to have a look at those at those figures. Otherwise, as ever, I hope that this has been a useful episode and it has given you some food thought when it comes to the cost of starting and running your podcast. And otherwise, I will see you next episode. Happy podcasting.

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