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Business Ideas

5 Tips to Turn Your Side-Hustle Podcast Into a Profitable Business



By Heather Osgood, founder of True Native Media

Do you have a podcast? Are you curious about how to monetize it? It’s time to think about how to capitalize on all the energy you’ve been diligently pouring into your show. There are five steps to consider when taking your podcast from side hustle to full-time moneymaking business. In this article we’ll cover the following:

  • Establishing a business mindset
  • Designing a simple yet effective business plan
  • Investing in your podcast and yourself
  • Focusing on growing your listenership
  • Determining your revenue streams

At the end of the article, you’ll also find a bonus tip, so make sure not to miss it!

1. Establish a Business Mindset for Your Podcast

Shifting how you think about your podcast is the first step to change its path to financial success. Take a moment and think about a podcast you admire that is financially successful. Chances are the host of the show has a goal-oriented mindset and the confidence to drive better results.

An honest evaluation of how your podcast is currently doing is critical in creating a business mindset. For example, are you hitting the revenue goals you’ve set? Are you increasing your audience size and retaining listeners? Are you creating the types of content you set out to create? From there, take the time to develop achievable goals and then work backward to form the steps you need to reach the goals.

2. Develop a Simple Business Plan for Your Podcast

Make the podcast a priority. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day to focus your energy on those steps and goals. I’ve found that creating a simple podcast business plan can go a long way. Include things like:

  • A vision for your podcast. Take a moment to revisit your why—the reason you started your podcast. Is it the same, or has it shifted? 
  • The goals you’ve developed.
  • Your target audience/customer demographic.
  • How you will monetize your podcast, through ads, courses, memberships, book sales, coaching, services, etc.
  • The cost of producing your podcast (including time).
  • How you plan to market your podcast to grow listenership.

If all of this is clear, it will give you the foundation you need to springboard your podcast into a profitable business.

3. Invest in Your Podcast and Yourself

Customers and advertisers buy into consistent, high-quality content. While there are free options available to create your show—like using your phone or computer mic to record and hosting your podcast on sites like Anchor—many of them have limitations that affect quality. Investing in a good mic is crucial, as is a quiet studio space or environment with sound-dampening equipment. 

Two of the most overlooked services are a hosting platform that can grow alongside your podcast and a production person. A skilled editor can make a listener subscribe in a flash.

Parallel to investing in your podcast is the need to invest in yourself as an entrepreneur. Taking the time to build your business skills is crucial in building a goal-oriented mindset. If you want your podcast to produce income, you must approach it like a business and develop the skills of a business owner. Important skills include knowing how to take consistent, measurable action toward business growth, understanding the financial aspects of your podcast business, and cultivating your determination to succeed. 

There are free resources available to help you level up, like YouTube or LinkedIn Learning. Many influential entrepreneurs offer free resources, webinars, and other educational assets that can get you started. For paid options, books and courses are readily available and won’t break the bank.

4. Focus on Listenership Growth

After the initial honeymoon period of a podcast, it is common for download numbers to plateau. Podcasters are often focused on churning out episodes and forget to promote their show. 

The first step to head off this problem is to put together a basic audience growth plan that answers the following questions:

  1. Who’s listening to your podcast (so you know how to target them)?
  2. What kind of content besides your podcast would your audience be interested in? 
  3. Which social media channels are best to reach your audience?
  4. What’s your posting schedule? 
  5. What metrics will you track to determine if it’s working?

You can set yourself up for success here with myAudience Growth Guide. 

Another essential piece to growth is a website for your podcast— a place where you can build a community for your podcast and capture sales. 

An audience growth strategy needs to be systematic and consistent to see results. It can feel overwhelming, so set up a plan and work it step by step until you get the hang of it and then move on.

Another critical thing to remember is that podcast listeners listen to podcasts. So, leveraging other podcasts to grow your listenership can be extremely useful. Here are three ways to do that:

  • Promo Swap: Each host reads a promo for the other show.
  • Guest Interview: Be a guest on another podcast, share value with the audience, and then promote your show as the call to action.
  • Podcast Ads: Purchase ads on other podcasts to promote listenership on your podcast. 

In session 462 of the SPI Podcast, Pat talks to Heather about the massive opportunity to grow your podcast using ads.

5. Determine Your Revenue Streams

The fantastic thing about podcasting is that you can create several revenue streams from one channel. Revisit your target audience demographic and your why to help determine which revenue streams to focus on. 

Podcast revenue streams include:

  • Promoting your primary business in order to gain new clients.
  • Selling your own products and services such as courses, training, coaching, or membership groups. 
  • Selling podcast ads.
  • Crowdfunding support with subscription platforms such as Patreon.

The next step is to ask yourself what your audience is lacking that you could provide them.

Your podcast can be a valuable vehicle to create revenue. You simply need to decide how you are going to best generate that revenue. 

If you are interested in getting sponsors for your podcast, check out the Podcast Moneymaker Course

Bonus Tip: Start with the End in Mind

While starting a podcast is relatively easy, maintaining and growing your show is more complicated than most podcasters anticipate. You may begin with the idea of it being a hobby, but you never know where it will lead. So, always start with the end in mind. 

Suppose one of your goals is to get advertisers for your podcast in the next few years. In that case, you need to format your podcast correctly from day one to receive ads. For example, you would need to create natural breaks in your content where ads can be inserted later. 

Think beyond the immediate state of your podcast. Implement a business mindset, and give yourself tools to grow as an entrepreneur. Take the time to strategize a system for growth, and your side hustle will become a full-fledged podcast business in no time.

Heather Osgood is the founder of True Native Media, a boutique podcast representation agency specializing in podcast advertising. She is the creator of Podcast Moneymaker, a course for podcasters who want the formula, tools, and tactics to get advertisers in six weeks. She is also the host of The Podcast Advertising Playbook, a show dedicated to educating anyone interested in podcast advertising.

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Business Ideas

How to Start a Niche Foam Party Business: Kid’s Party



Foam parties have become popular and are great fun. If you didn’t know what a foam party is, it is a party or event where participants have fun dancing amidst foam created by a machine. The machine creates bubbles of foams that envelop the place, creating a fun environment at the party. If you are a business person, then a foam party business is a great idea.

You can get a foam machine and use it to throw foam parties and make money from it – relatively affordably.

photo credit: Roaring Foam

Can you make money through foam parties?

Yes, you can make money if you have a foam machine. Parties are common, and party-goers get bored with the usual stuff. A foam party is an innovative way of partying. It allows participants to let go, dancing in joy amidst the foam. This kind of party would be popular, and you can make money by offering a different experience to participants.

Creating a niche market

When you want to make money from a business, you will find that there are many others with the same idea. You need to do something different so you can succeed. This is where finding a niche market helps. A niche market is a specific category to which you can cater. Kids Foam Party is such a niche market. While there are many businesses catering to foam parties in general, foam parties for kids is a niche idea. This is a business idea that can help you succeed and make money.

Planning your business

Now that you have found your niche, it is important to plan your business before you get started. The first thing is to be clear with what you are offering. You are offering a foam party, which is an event where there is a dance floor filled with suds. When this party is offered for kids, they will enjoy it the most. They would not only dance but play in the foam and have a great time in general.

Taking proper safety precautions like setting the depth of the foam and insisting on face coverings ensure there are no problems.

What do you need?

It is obvious that you need a foam machine if you plan to run foam parties. A foam machine is not too expensive. However, you need not buy one immediately. Since you are starting off with a new business, you can get a foam machine for rent. This is a cheaper option allowing you to rent a machine and use it whenever you need it. This will allow you to do a pilot run of your party business.

If the response is good and you start getting many events, then you can consider buying your own foam machine. This would work out better for you.

Kid having fun in foam
photo credit: Roaring Foam

Planning and executing foam parties for kids

With these basic concepts in mind, it is time you start planning your parties. Since you have chosen the niche of foam parties for kids, you need to explore different options. You can have foam parties to celebrate birthdays. There can even be parties for no reason but just to allow kids to have fun. Explore different themes for foam parties and plan the events.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind while planning and executing foam parties for kids:

  • You need to find a venue to host the foam party. The ideal location is outdoors, so the foam does not create a mess inside. When the weather does not permit, you need to find indoor venues with a fairly big hall to organize the event.
  • Apart from the machine, you need the foam solution to create foam. You need to have sufficient foam machine solution to last the entire party.
  • Safety is a very important issue in foam parties. This is all the more important when you are dealing with kids. You need to have a clear plan for ensuring safety in your foam party. Communicate the plan with your clients so they are assured of the safety arrangements.
  • If you are doing the party indoors, you need a tarp to cover the floor and walls. It is important to cover up all the electric and other outlets to avoid them being damaged.
  • Placing plastic furniture is better since it won’t get damaged due to bubbles.
  • Safety arrangements for the kids are very important. Wearing shoes is a must. You can insist on goggles or face coverings to prevent allergies from the suds. You need to take adequate precautions to prevent kids from skidding and falling during the party. There is always a risk of accidents at a foam party, and you need to do everything to prevent it.
  • Preferably, get a waiver from guests to protect against liabilities.

With all this planning, you are now ready to execute foam parties and make neat profits from them.

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Business Ideas

What open source-based startups can learn from Confluent’s success story



It’s common these days to launch an enterprise startup based on an open source project, often where one the founders was deeply involved in creating it. The beauty of this approach is that if the project begins to gain traction, you have the top of the sales funnel ready and waiting with potential customers when you move to commercialize your business.

In the past, this often meant providing help desk-style services for companies who appreciated what the open source software could do but wanted to have the so-called “throat to choke” if something went wrong. Another way that these companies have made money has been creating an on-prem version with certain enterprise features, particularly around scale or security, the kind of thing that large operations need as table stakes before using a particular product. Today, customers typically can install on-prem or in their cloud of choice.

“A key aspect of these kinds of technology-developer data products is they have to have a combination of bottom-up adoption and top-down SaaS, and you actually have to get both of those things working well to succeed.” Jay Kreps

In recent years, the model has shifted to building a SaaS product, where the startup builds a solution that handles all the back-end management and creates something that most companies can adopt without all of the fuss associated with installing yourself or trying to figure out how to use the raw open source.

One company that has flirted with these monetization approaches is Confluent, the streaming data company built on top of the open source Apache Kafka project. The founding team had helped build Kafka inside LinkedIn to move massive amounts of user data in real time. They open sourced the tool in 2011, and CEO and co-founder Jay Kreps helped launch the company in 2014.

It’s worth noting that Confluent raised $450 million as a private company with a final private valuation in April of $4.5 billion before going public in June. Today, it has a market cap of over $22 billion, not bad for less than six months as a public company.

Last month at TC Sessions: SaaS, I spoke to Kreps about how he built his open source business and the steps he took along the way to monetize his ideas. There’s certainly a lot of takeaways for open source-based startups launching today.

Going upmarket

Kreps said that when they launched the company in 2014, there were a bunch of enterprise-size companies already using the open source product, and they needed to figure out how to take the interest they had been seeing in Kafka and convert that into something that the fledgling startup could begin to make money on.

“There have been different paths for different companies in this space, and I think it’s actually very dependent on the type of product [as to] what makes sense. For us, one of the things we understood early on was that we would have to be wherever our customers had data,” Kreps said.

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Business Ideas

5 Hobbies That Make Money and How To Get Started



Money-making hobbies range from walking dogs to blogging to creating and selling homemade goods.

Read about these profitable hobbies, as well as what you can expect to make.

1. Driving

Enjoy cruising around town? Give others a ride and make money by becoming an Uber or Lyft driver. Uber drivers make an estimated $5 to $20 an hour, and Lyft drivers earn about $5 to $25 an hour, according to, a review site for money-making platforms. Note that earnings depend in part on when, where and how often you drive.

To become an Uber or Lyft driver, you must be the minimum age to drive in your area. You must also meet specific requirements related to your driver’s license, insurance and vehicle. Learn about these exact requirements in our guide to becoming an Uber or Lyft driver.

If you enjoy driving but don’t want people in your car, look into becoming a full-service Instacart shopper, which involves shopping for and delivering groceries. Uber Eats and Amazon Flex also offer opportunities to deliver food and other products to homes. Each of these gigs has its own set of requirements, though, so do your research before signing up.

2. Caring for dogs

If your favorite hobbies involve belly rubs, smooches and long walks in the neighborhood, try Wag or Rover. These apps enable you to walk, dog-sit or board pups overnight for money.

Rover and Wag work in similar ways. They both require you to be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and meet other requirements. For both, you create a profile, set your own rates, and use the app to choose which gigs to take. (See our Rover vs. Wag comparison for more specific sign-up and payment information, as well as how the apps vary in the services they allow.)

On both apps, the amount you earn depends on what you charge, how much you receive in tips, and which types of services you provide. As you would guess, boarding typically pays more than walking a dog, for example. But both companies take a bite from your earnings. Rover charges a 20% service fee per booking, and Wag takes 40%.

3. Blogging

If you have a blog that gets decent traffic, try making money from it. Blogging for money can take a few forms. One way is to host ads on your blog through a service like Google AdSense, which is free. Here’s the gist, according to Google: If your website is approved, then you choose where on it you would like ads to appear. Then advertisers bid to place ads where you designated, with the winner’s ads appearing in that spot. (People make money on YouTube through the same service.)

You earn some money when a reader clicks on one of these ads — but determining exactly how much you’ll make is tricky. Explore our guide to Google AdSense to learn more about it.

You could also try writing sponsored content, meaning companies pay you to write about their products. Or, become an affiliate through the Amazon Associates program. That involves linking to an Amazon product from your content and earning a commission when one of your readers clicks through and buys that item. Learn more about how to make money on Amazon through your blog.

4. Posting to social media

Love posting to social media and building a following? On Instagram and TikTok, many users earn money through sponsored photos and videos. Say you regularly post about your at-home exercise regimen. You may agree to post about a retailer’s resistance bands or sweatpants in exchange for cash or free products. (Sponsorships and affiliate marketing are also ways to make money from podcasts, in case that’s one of your hobbies.)

Sponsors may reach out to you to set up this kind of arrangement; you could contact them; or, in some cases, you may consider working through a third-party agency.

The type of content you post, as well as your number of followers and their engagement, will likely impact sponsorship opportunities. Learn more about how to make money on Instagram or on TikTok.

5. Selling your wares

There’s a marketplace for just about everything. So if you’re skilled in a hobby, consider trying to profit from it. For example, if you create jewelry or have an eye for thrifting quality clothes, try selling those items at a local flea market or yard sale, or on a neighborhood website such as Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace.

Or look into an online market that could attract a wider range of buyers. Consider Etsy for crafts or Poshmark if you want to sell clothes online.

These websites charge fees that will cut into your profits. This guide to selling stuff online will help you think through the math and determine if your hobby can become a viable business.

What to consider before making money from your hobbies

Before taking any of the routes listed above, keep in mind that this work will likely affect your taxes. See our guide to self-employment taxes, which includes expenses you can deduct, and how to avoid penalties.

And as you aim to profit from your hobbies, consider whether you will continue to enjoy them through this new business lens. Let’s say knitting helps you relax. Will it continue to do so if you’re pricing, promoting and shipping your homemade wares through an online marketplace? And that blogging hobby: Will writing still be fun or cathartic if you’re occasionally throwing in a sponsored post?

It may be hard to answer these questions until you give the money-making approach a shot. But it’s worth reflecting on the potential trade-offs as you think about turning your hobby into a job.

Money management made easy

NerdWallet tracks your income, bills, and shows you ways to save more.


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