A financially independent podcaster breaks down the 2 main ways to make money podcasting — and how he turned it into a business that replaced his six-figure day job

Our investing experts respond to readers’ questions and write unbiased product reviews (here’s how we evaluate investing products). Paid non-client promotion: We may receive a commission from our partners in some cases. Our thoughts are always our own.

  • Brian Luebben started a podcast in October 2021 on a shoestring budget: less than $300.
  • He didn’t intend to monetize it but, in 2022, a mindset coach he’d hired offered him affiliate revenue.
  • Luebben eventually turned his podcast into a six-figure business that replaced his 9-to-5 income.

Brian Luebben graduated from college with a marketing degree in 2017 and began working in sales.

While he listened to a lot of podcasts on his commute, the idea of hosting one never occurred to him — until 2021, when someone he met at a Mastermind event told him he had a gift for talking to people and encouraged him to start one.

“I said, ‘I’m not qualified enough to start a podcast yet,” Luebben said at first. “Who wants to hear from me?”

His peer resisted, and Luebben began tossing around ideas on his way home from the event.

“I came up with the name, Action Academy, on the flight,” he explained to Insider. In terms of content, he decided to tap into the network he’d built over the previous year and conduct interviews with financially independent investors. He contacted investors he’d met at Mastermind events and real-estate meet-ups, purchased a microphone, and registered with the podcast platform Riverside.fm. According to him, his total start-up costs were less than $300.

In October 2021, Luebben published his first episode, an interview with a 29-year-old real-estate investor who owned over 100 doors.

Even if he wanted to, he didn’t know how to monetize a podcast at the time. “I didn’t intend to turn it into a business,” he told me. “I just made it to make a show.”

For months, Action Academy did not make a single penny. However, in January 2022, a mindset coach Luebben had hired offered him affiliate revenue, which was a percentage of every successful referral via a link in the podcast’s description.

According to him, he earned up to $19,000 per month from affiliate revenue over the next three months. Insider examined his 2022 1099-NEC form to confirm his podcast earnings. The new revenue stream enabled him to save enough money to be able to leave his six-figure sales job in March 2022.

Luebben, 28, now posts daily episodes but no longer uses affiliate links. According to documents reviewed by Insider, his main source of income is his financial freedom coaching business, the Action Academy Community, which generates six figures. He also wrote “From Passive to Passionate.”

He explained the two main ways to make money from podcasting, as well as how he turned his podcast into a six-figure business that replaced his 9-to-5 income.

How to make money from podcasting: Affiliate linking and advertising

There are two main ways to monetize a podcast: affiliate links, which Luebben used, and ads.

When someone (the affiliate) earns a commission for marketing a product or service, this is referred to as affiliate marketing. Many social media influencers earn money by sharing links to their Instagram stories or below their YouTube videos, and if one of their followers clicks the link and purchases the product or service, they earn a commission on the sale.

The same is true for podcast hosts: affiliate links can be included in show notes.

You don’t need a large audience to make money with affiliate marketing. Luebben’s podcast was new and small when he first began earning money this way.

“I didn’t have that many downloads — maybe 5,000 downloads a month,” he told me. But he knew his audience and what products and services they would want. “They were all high-earning, entrepreneurial, and wanted mindset stuff and coaching.”

Furthermore, because he was promoting an expensive service — coaching, which can often cost up to $10,000 per year — his commissions were substantial.

“When I was making 10% of that, I’d be making $1,000 a pop,” Luebben said. “And if I was making 15%, it’d be $1,500.”

The other major way for a podcaster to make money is through advertising. However, in order to make a good living, you need a large audience, according to Luebben. When it comes to podcast advertising pricing, it will most likely be either a fixed rate or calculated on a cost-per-mile (CPM) basis.

CPM is a fixed rate for every 1,000 episode listens. Assume the rate is $25 per 1,000 listeners. That means you’d be paid $125 if your episode received 5,000 listens.

Ads are most effective for podcast hosts who have large audiences. e.g., “if Joe Rogan says, ‘check out Athletic Greens,’ he probably gets a huge dollar amount per 1,000 downloads,” according to Luebben. However, “if you have a new show, you’re not going to make any money that way.”

That’s why he advises new hosts to begin where he did: with affiliate linking.

How he built an audience and turned his side hustle into a full-fledged business

Luebben’s six-figure coaching business began with a podcast he didn’t think he was qualified to create.

To build a podcast audience, you must first commit to consistently uploading episodes.

“There’s this thing called ‘the podcast graveyard,'” Luebben explained. “Most people don’t make a podcast past seven episodes, so I made sure to do eight interviews before I launched to make it past that statistic.”

He gradually increased his upload frequency, from weekly to two to three episodes per week. He’s been posting every day for the past year.

You should also be clear about your goal. Ask the question: “If somebody listens to my podcast for six months, what is the desired end outcome for that person?” he asked. This will also assist you in identifying your audience and understanding what they require assistance with. You can better serve them with each episode if you know who you’re talking to and what problems they need help with.

Luebben also believes in choosing a topic that piques your interest, “because then your curiosity takes over,” he says. “Because I was so curious in each interview, it really made me a good interviewer.”

The more money Luebben made for other coaching programs and companies by referring podcast listeners to them, the more he considered starting his own coaching company.

In 2022, he founded The Action Academy Community to help people achieve financial independence and build their own businesses. It was a natural transition, and he continues to provide free resources, such as his podcast and blog posts.

In addition, he lives what he preaches to his clients: “The faster you go from idea to implementation, the more successful you’ll be.”

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply