(By Gerri Detweiler) Josh Elledge’s three podcasts, The SavingsAngel Show, Authority Confidential, and The Thoughtful Entrepreneur were all getting great results. But he knew he had just scratched the surface, especially with The Thoughtful Entrepreneur, which was driving massive business to his PR agency, UpMyInfluence.com.
With the help of a carefully researched business loan, he was able to take it to another level. Funding “enabled us to go from a weekly show to a daily show and, as a result, we’ve been able to quadruple our income,” he explains.
Growing a successful podcast business requires an investment of time, along with money to pay for:
As many podcasters learn, however, income — whether from sponsors, affiliates, or product sales — typically lags behind expenses. Investing in higher-end equipment can be expensive and it will take time to see results. That’s where financing comes in.
Here are three ways to successfully finance and grow your podcast:
Business Credit Cards
“I use my business credit card regularly to preserve a nice cash flow from sponsor money coming in and the expenses going out,” says Ellie Kay, co-host of The Money Millhouse. She uses plastic to “pay producer and editing fees as well as website, hosting, and accounting bills. I also cover travel fees when we go to podcast-friendly conferences to make new contacts that help The Money Millhouse,” she explains.
As host of a financial podcast, Kay pays her credit cards in full each month to avoid interest, but charges everything she can to earn rewards. “The icing on the cake is that my company earns points that I can use on travel for future business opportunities and just plain fun,” she says.
Tip: Consider a business credit card over a personal one. Many business credit card issuers don’t regularly report balances to the owner’s personal credit reports, but do report to business credit agencies, helping you build business credit. Additionally, take time to understand which issuers report to personal and business credit at Nav.com/reports.
The Tales of a Red Clay Rambler, a podcast for creatives, used crowdfunding to raise over $13,000 to fund its third season. Host Ben Carter used rewards-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Another option is a loan-based crowdfunding platform. Kiva, for example, offers small loans with an interest rate of 0%.
Tip: Successful crowdfunding campaigns often start with a solid group of fans, whether that’s an email list of listeners or an engaged social media following. Always be building your list.
Elledge invested strategically in his business using an SBA-guaranteed loan from a bank. Low rates and favorable terms make these loans an appealing choice. There are a variety of options, with loans up to $5 million.
Looking for a smaller loan? The SBA microloan program offers loans of $50,000 or less, with an average loan of just over $13,000. Non-profit organizations facilitate these loans.
Tip: While the SBA sets minimum guidelines, individual lenders may have their own requirements. Just because one lender says no doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a loan elsewhere.
Gerri Detweiler has been guiding individuals through the confusing world of finance and credit for 20+ years. She is the author or coauthor of five books, including her most recent, Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track. Gerri serves as the Education Director for Nav, an online platform that matches small-business owners to their best financing options and gives free access to personal and business credit scores.