How Much do Podcasters Make (+how mine makes me millions)
Podcasting is more popular than ever. So much so that if you put 100 people in a room, 99 of them have at least thought about starting their own podcast.
However, even though there are plenty of podcasts available now. A vast majority of them don’t make any money (some are even in the hole).
In this article, I’ll show you exactly how much money some podcasts bring in, and I’ll even reveal how I monetize my podcast (and make millions in the process).
Table of Contents
Why Start a Podcast?
Starting a podcast can be a great decision. If you have a solid goal in mind, having a podcast can be a wonderful thing for your career and/or business. That said, here are 5 good reasons to give podcasting a try.
1. Creative expression
If you’re one of those people who loves to express yourself, this could be a good reason to start a podcast. Just understand that this approach doesn’t map to wealth creation so make sure you have a plan for that before you commit to starting a podcast.
2. Monetization opportunities
Podcasting offers a fair amount of possibilities to monetize your efforts. We’ll dive deeper into what that looks like in the next section. Just know that for many of the options, you’ll need a huge audience to make money. That is, unless you follow my unique approach (keep reading to find out what that is).
3. Build your personal brand
This is my favorite reason for starting a podcast (and is the main reason why I started my own). Building a personal brand can be a great asset. And doing so is a great way to get your message out into the world. If you follow me, you know I’m big on personal finance and teaching people to live their Rich Life. And my podcast is one of the vehicles I use to get that message out there. Additionally, you never know where building a personal brand can lead. In fact, my podcast was the sole reason why I was able to get my Netflix show.
How much do average podcasters make?
Before we get into what the big names pull in, it’s best to set the stage by showing you what you can realistically expect to make with your podcast.
The tricky thing about podcasting is that you typically need a ton of listeners/downloads in order for most of the monetization strategies to make sense. For example, a podcaster who has around 10,000 downloads can expect to make anywhere between $500-$900–which is not a lot of money.
To give you a better idea of how much average podcasters make, take a look at this table that gives estimates of what you can expect to earn:
|Less than $100/month
As you can see, most podcasters make pennies. However, don’t be discouraged. There’s a way you can make significantly more than the average podcaster while only having a fraction of the audience size. I’ll show you my method for monetization in a bit, but first, let’s take a look at what the big boys bring in.
Want to build a business that enables you to live YOUR Rich Life? Get my FREE guide on finding your first profitable idea.
What top podcasters make annually
We’ve talked about how most podcasters make very little money–and sometimes are even in debt because of equipment. But there are a few podcasters who’re really raking it in. Let’s take a quick look at what some of the podcasters are making, and later look at each in more detail.
# of years podcasting
30 Million 14 years
Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark 15 Million 9 years
9 Million 5 years
7 Million 16 years
Chapo Trap Network 2 Million 7 years
Tim Dillion 1.3 Million 4 years
Before you compare these names to yourself, keep in mind that most people on this list were somewhat famous before they started their podcast. And that fame helped propel them to rapid growth.
Now let’s take a deeper look at each of these podcasters.
Deep Dive into Top Earning Podcasters
1. Joe Rogan ($30 Million)
Joe Rogan is a popular comedian who gained popularity in Boston in 1988. In 1997, he joined the UFC as an interviewer and commentator, and in 2000, he released his first comedy special. From 2001 to 2006, Rogan hosted Fear Factor before starting his immensely successful podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, in 2009. Since December 2020, the podcast has been exclusively available on Spotify, with highlights on YouTube.
2. Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark ($15 Million)
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark co-host the popular true crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder (MFM). The podcast premiered in early 2016 and quickly became a hit, setting download records and building a devoted fan base known as “Murderinos.” Their tagline, “Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered,” has become iconic and helped their network, Exactly Right, thrive. With five spin-off podcasts, a bestselling book, and successful worldwide tours, the future looks promising for Kilgariff and Hardstark in 2023.
3. Dax Shepard ($9 Million)
Dax Shepard is a multi-talented American actor, comedian, writer, director, and podcast host. His popular podcast, “Armchair Expert,” launched in 2018 and features interviews with celebrities, journalists, and academics about their lives. With an estimated monthly audience of 20 million, the podcast has become one of the highest-earning in 2023. Shepard is renowned for his work in feature films such as “Without a Paddle,” “Zathura: A Space Adventure,” and “CHiPs,”. Shepard’s live shows attract nearly 4,000 attendees on average, solidifying their success.
4. Bill Simmons ($7 Million)
William John Simmons III is an American sports analyst, author, podcaster, and former sportswriter. He founded and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Ringer, a sports and pop culture website established in 2016. While the website initially struggled to gain traction, its podcast business has thrived, with The Bill Simmons Podcast consistently ranking in Apple’s top 25 podcasts. The flagship program alone generated around $7 million in revenue last year.
5. Chapo Trap Network ($2 Million)
Chapo Trap House is a highly controversial and provocative podcast that ranks among the highest-paid podcasters in 2022. The podcast gained support after being banned from Reddit and Twitch in 2020 due to allegations of hate speech and copyright infringement. The podcast’s success expanded in 2018 with the release of their New York Times Best Seller book, titled The Chapo Guide to Revolution, contributing to its status as one of the highest-earning podcasts globally.
6. Tim Dillion ($1.3 Million)
Tim Dillon has a unique background as a former seller of subprime mortgages before the 2008 financial crisis. He soon after transitioned into a successful stand-up comedian. His podcast stands out for its humorous yet ambitious exploration of practical conspiracies and dark aspects of humanity, from human trafficking to the mysterious death of Jeffrey Epstein. Through weekly releases on YouTube, Dillon demonstrates the power of subscriber-based platforms like Patreon, carving a new path in the entertainment industry by circumventing traditional gatekeepers.
7. Ramit Sethi (Multi-Million Dollar Business)
Unlike the other podcasters on this list, I’ve not been podcasting for the last decade. Nor did I have the luxury of being a celebrity before I spoke into a mic. But still, I’ve been able to make a pretty substantial income from my podcast. That’s because instead of depending on ad revenue like other podcasters, I treat my show as a marketing channel. That way I can get listeners to join my email list where I can sell them products (like my course Earnable that shows you how to start your own business). I’m also able to earn a nice living for myself without having a fancy podcast setup like the other people on this list. Just take a look at my setup below:
“We’re broke paying for $55k private school tuition”
How to start a successful podcast
So, is it still possible for you to create and bring to life a successful podcast? Certainly! Here are five steps to help you start a successful podcast:
- Define your podcast concept: This is probably the most important step of them all. Having a good idea for a podcast can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting more listeners. One book that helped me get clarity on The IWT Podcast was “Make Noise: A Creators Guide to Podcasting”.
- Plan your episodes: Outline and plan your episodes in advance. Decide on the format, episode length, and structure. Prepare engaging content and consider incorporating segments, interviews, or storytelling techniques to keep your audience entertained and informed.
- Set up the necessary equipment: Invest in quality podcasting equipment, including a good microphone, headphones, and audio recording/editing software. Ensure your recording environment is quiet and free from distractions. Test and familiarize yourself with the equipment to produce high-quality audio.
- Record and edit your episodes: Start recording your podcast episodes, following your planned outlines. Speak clearly and confidently, engaging your audience throughout. After recording, edit the episodes to enhance audio quality, remove any mistakes or unnecessary sections, and add music or sound effects if desired. Editing software like Audacity or Adobe Audition can be helpful.
- Publish and promote your podcast: Choose a podcast hosting platform, such as Libsyn or Podbean, to upload and distribute your episodes to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Create eye-catching cover art and write compelling episode descriptions. Develop a marketing strategy to promote your podcast through social media, your website, and collaborations with other podcasters or influencers. Engage with your audience and encourage feedback to build a loyal listener base.
- Start your own business: As I’ve pointed out, most of the ways podcasters make money is by getting a ton of listeners. But why wait to make a living when you can start monetizing your podcasting at the very beginning? If you start your own business, you can then use your podcast to get listeners to become your customer. In my Earnable course, I’ll show you just how to do that.
Remember, consistency and quality are key. Stay committed to regular episode releases and continuously improve your content based on audience feedback. With time and effort, your podcast has the potential to grow and succeed.
Do podcasters make good money?
Absolutely—just look at the big names we talked about earlier. But here’s the real talk: it’s not just about hitting record and watching the dollars roll in. The champs like Joe Rogan didn’t just get lucky; they nailed down what listeners crave and kept delivering it non-stop. It’s about finding your groove, sticking to it, and being so good they can’t ignore you.
How much do podcasters make per episode?
Typically, a podcaster with around 10,000 downloads per episode can expect to earn somewhere between $500 to $900. Very successful podcasts can earn much more, reaching up to $30 million in annual income.
Who is the highest paying podcaster?
Joe Rogan is the highest paying podcaster. His exclusive deal with Spotify for “The Joe Rogan Experience” is reportedly worth at least $200 million, per Forbes. That sets him way ahead in the podcasting earnings league.
How do I start a podcast?
Kickstart a podcast by finding a niche where your interests and expertise meet audience needs. Get to know your audience well—their likes, issues, and what they’re into. Start with the basics: a good mic and some editing software. Plan out engaging content that hooks listeners from episode one.
How to make money podcasting?
To make money podcasting, focus on building a dedicated audience with unique content, then monetize through sponsorships, ads, and direct support like Patreon. The trick is to offer immense value, creating a community that trusts and supports your recommendations and offerings.