Cheap Podcast Launching That is Still Really Good With Sarah St. John of the Frugalpreneur Podcast

TBF 108 | Cheap Podcast Launching

People often assume that starting a podcast requires having a studio, a full set, and professional equipment when the reality is much cheaper. Today’s guest will be giving tips on cheap podcast launching to help you get started on your podcaster journey! Sarah St. John, aka the Frugalpreneur, is an entrepreneur, author, and podcast host focused on helping people launch and manage an online business on a budget. All it takes is the right strategy and a hundred dollars or less! She chats with Tracy Hazzard on everything you need from equipment to increasing listener engagement with little to no cost. Learn all about her methods and strategies by tuning in to this episode!

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Cheap Podcast Launching That is Still Really Good With Sarah St. John of the Frugalpreneur Podcast

I have a podcast entrepreneur who’s frugal, the Frugalpreneur. Don’t you love the name of that show? I have Sarah St. John here, the Frugalpreneur, and we’re going to talk about budget podcasting and all the different ways of a bootstrap model, which I love. To hear Sarah talk about it as a necessity as a way and approach to everything she does is great.

As she points out, she spent a ton of money doing some things and then didn’t get quite the results. Then she started to think about it from a different perspective. Being a little more frugal and bootstrapped about your show, it doesn’t hurt anyone. We don’t want to go too far in bootstrap ourselves into something that we’re creating so much work for ourselves that we don’t have any time to record our show or to do our core business that is around our show.

We want to make sure that we’re balancing that out, but when you get started with something, especially when you get started and you don’t know the value of the money you’re going to be spending, it’s a good idea to be frugal about that. This is something that I believe in. I don’t think you should pay a lot of money to take a course to learn how to do something.

That is not something that’s the way that we work here. Courses are free. If you’re going to deep dive into something, you have to know that it’s a value that you want to do something deeper in this. That’s exactly Sarah’s model and she has got some great books and a couple of great podcasts, not the Frugalpreneur.

Sarah St. John is an Entrepreneur, Podcaster, Online Course Creator and Author. She has created several startups throughout our entrepreneurial career of over a decade. She is also the podcast host of Frugalpreneur: Building a Business on a Bootstrapped Budget, which aims to show people how to launch and manage an online business on a budget. Who isn’t and who should be on a budget? I’m so glad to bring you to the Frugalpreneur, Sarah St. John.

About Frugalpreneur Podcast Host Sarah St. John

TBF 108 | Cheap Podcast LaunchingSarah St John is an entrepreneur, podcaster, online course creator, and author. She has created several startups throughout her entrepreneurial career of over a decade. She currently owns a podcast production agency called PodSeam. She is also the podcast host of “Frugalpreneur: Building a Business on a Bootstrapped Budget” which aims to show people how to launch and manage an online business on a budget.





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Sarah, how are you?

How are you?

Sarah, it is so great to talk to a seasoned podcaster who’s got multiple feeds going on. She’s got a Frugalpreneur mindset, which I love, plus you’ve had some of my favorite people on your show. One of your guests, Mike Michalowicz, is one of my favorite people of all time. I love talking with him. He’s awesome. You have done really well for your podcasting yourself, but what got you started to begin with?

Technically it’s a journey. In 2008, I had had six different jobs that year, not at the same time but throughout the course of the year. I decided to work for myself as I wanted to do. I started a photography business and I realized that while I liked taking photos of animals, architecture and landscapes, I didn’t like taking photos of people, but that’s where the money is.

I was taking photos of like portraits and weddings but the bigger issue than that was the expense involved in maintaining equipment, software, lighting, and all of that. I decided to switch to an online business model because there’s very little overhead, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I tried a bunch of different things like blogging, affiliate marketing, dropshipping and all of that.

You’ve been in and around the whole marketing and all the sections of entrepreneurship all around. It’s trial and error.

It’s a whole shiny object syndrome where I hear about a different way to make money online, so I try that and then I don’t like it, then I try another thing. It was in that process that I discovered all these free or affordable tools, resources and software that you could use to run a business close to free but on a budget.

I decided to write a book called Frugalpreneur to talk about the different ways to make money online and the different software to use. While I was writing that book, I decided to launch a podcast also called Frugalpreneur, but it was going to be an extra marketing avenue to get more exposure and whatnot. It was going to be ten episodes.

I was interviewing the CEOs or people within companies of these different software programs I talked about in the book, but I was getting more leverage and traction with the podcast than the book and I enjoyed it. I love the connections I was making and the networking. I’ve kept that up. I’ve had it for a couple of years now.

You’re well over 80 episodes. I think it was 88 what I saw.

I think it’s in the 90s now.

Quite a big journey. That’s so interesting because people bug me that I haven’t published my book yet. It’s been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Part of the reason that I haven’t published it is because my podcast is so much more current that every time I go to do the final edit, I’m like, “We got to change this and that,” and I can’t publish it. It won’t happen. I can see that there are some people that the dynamic opportunity in podcasting is so much better and that seems like what you’ve fallen into and found.

They say you have a book as a business card, which in some ways makes sense because it’s something physical. You can hand it to someone instead of an actual business card, you give them a book at a conference, but I’m finding that podcasting is working a lot better.

You’ve done a few things that I find interesting that I want to bring up, and that is that you’ve created, sometimes we call them spinoff feeds, sometimes we call them mini feeds, and this is like an in the industry term. It’s not something the readers would call it. They’re like, “It’s another podcast.” You’ve created Authorpreneur and Podcastpreneur. You’ve got this subcategory of episodes that are within your existing one and that has helped you to narrow it down. Are you using it on lead pages? How are you using that separate podcast to generate specifically with Authorpreneur? How are you using it to generate new business to get more clients?

I got the idea to do that because one, I have written three books now, all by those titles Frugalpreneur, Authorpreneur and Podcastpreneur. It’s like the preneur trifecta or trilogy. I thought I might as well have a podcast for each book like I did with the first one. I had probably ten episodes in a row about self-publishing because, during COVID and everything, I was doing so many episodes and recording so much that I decided to do a whole week on self-publishing.

I then did two whole weeks on podcasting. Then all of those episodes are in Frugalpreneur, but I decided to take out the ones specifically for self-publishing, put them in its podcast and do the same thing with the podcasting ones. I have a call-to-action at the beginning of the episodes about the books, but other than that, I don’t promote either of those two. It’s more like if someone is searching in a podcast directory, finds it and listens to it, I mainly promote Frugalpreneur because it has those episodes.

TBF 108 | Cheap Podcast Launching
Frugalpreneur: How To Launch, Manage and Market Your Online Business For Under $100 Per Month

It’s easier to promote one show and then have the sub feeds be found at the same time.

I even recorded a separate intro for each of those saying, “This episode originally appeared on the Frugalpreneur Podcast,” or something like that.

You’re cross-promoting.

In a way, yes.

You run an ad at the beginning, so it runs before your actual intro. How is that with a call-to-action? Do you find it getting traction for you?

Are you referring to the call-to-action for my things?

Yes, for your own things that typically, you might run an ad or something at the beginning of it.

I’ve only ever tried it at the beginning. I do have a call-to-action at the end, which is just, “If you like the episode rate, review, subscribe and all that stuff,” which now I’m questioning. That’s a whole other topic.

It is a topic. We’ll get back to that because I don’t want to leave everybody hanging on that. How is that call-to-action right up front doing?

It’s doing pretty well. It might do even better in the middle and I’m starting to debate that, especially if it’s the same call-to-action, people are going to get used to it and they’re going to know how long it is and they’re going to say, “Skip 30 seconds.” I think it’s better than doing it at the end because either people know it’s the end of the episode and they turned off or they don’t even make it to the end.

That has nothing to do with your show. Sometimes we leave it and we forget we had to do something. On the Podetize platform, what we see from all the people that run ads and we can see clearly is the ones that run the pre-call-to-action where it is before your intro or right after your intro. It’s an extended intro in a sense, tend to have a lower listenership overall than someone who runs it slightly towards mid-role.

It doesn’t have to be right at mid-rolls. If I ran an ad on this show, I’d introduce you, I’d have my music and my intro, and then I’d run an ad. I don’t happen to run an ad on the show, but if I did, I’d run it right there before you started speaking before we did the interview portion. It’s about five minutes in before the ad ran. Because of that, there’s this intrigue that has happened that’s like, “Who is this Sarah person in? What is Frugalpreneur? I want to hear this.”

They’re more willing to sit through it and not skip it because they don’t want to skip the first question. They don’t want to accidentally pass it because they’d have no idea how long the ad is going to be. In mine, I even run it like 15 to 30 seconds, so they’re not long. They wouldn’t even bother to hit the button.

They tend to do better in terms of having capturing listeners. I think maybe it’s my view of this because I can’t survey the listeners who basically aren’t listening to a show like that’s not possible. What happens is, is when they check out a show and there’s a call-to-action right up front so quickly, they think the show is a little salesy and it maybe not as much in service. I think try to move it and see what happens because your call-to-action is good. The ad itself is good. Maybe just moving it.

That’s a good point because I thought about the whole mid-roll after you’re already interviewing someone or in the middle of your episode and then putting it in the middle, but what you’re talking about actually might work better.

It’s a natural break. On the Podetize platform, we do the ad at the time we’re recording, then I can say, “Let’s go to the interview with Sarah.” Before the interview, my voice on the other side goes, “Wait, I have to tell you about my offer first.” You can make it sounds funny and you can make it a transition on the other side. That’s the only piece you have to record so you can add it later.

That might improve for you because not that you don’t have a great show already, but if someone is new to your show, not understanding that you’re not a pushy salesperson because you’re not. You’re very helpful and very informative that they may not give it a chance. That would be unfortunate.

Use a book as a business card. It's something physical you can hand to someone instead of an actual business card. Share on X

Most of my call-to-actions are my own thing, whenever that might be, my eBooks and whatnot. I started doing the project, especially if you listen to the Mike Michalowicz episode. I believe that one did have an actual sponsored ad in the front.

There was a sponsored ad and that was at the pre-roll. Even those, I think you could run a mid-roll and they do better for your sponsor if you’re able to. In some ways, they’re put on by the host. They’re put on by Megaphone, Anchor or one of the companies. You don’t have a choice because they’re streaming ads, but if it’s your ads and your sponsor, you get to choose where it goes. What I find is I get more sponsors who stick around and come back because the ads performed better if they’re in the mid-rolls position. That’s because the number of listeners is up.

That’s a good point. I’m going to have to act on that.

You have to think about all this. You’ve made some shifts in your show and you’ve done some of those things. Let’s talk about when you make the shifts, did you announce it to people? Did you tell them what was going on? How did you handle that as you started to do more and you’ve got your new books in?

In 2020, my show was mainly interviewing CEOs or people within companies then it shifted to interviewing people that I look up to and admire within the entrepreneur space, whether it’s through podcasting, affiliate marketing, and whatever it might be. Then in 2021, I wanted to switch gears and interview people who started a business with less than $1,000 and bootstrapped it without any outside capital, debit, credit, loans or any of that stuff up to $1 million or seven figures, but not in the course of a year, necessarily.

Not like an annual salary of seven figures, but at some point, I reached that milestone. I did do one podcast episode where it was me. It was like 5 or 10 minutes saying that was the direction I was going to go for 2021. If you or someone you know fits that boat or fits that description applies here. Not every episode I’ve put out in 2021 has been that because I’ve found it difficult to find people who meet that exact description.

It’s hard. There are some crazy statistics out there about the percentage of businesses that ever even make it to $1 million anyway and it’s really low, let alone ones that bootstrapped it their way. It might be a little too narrow.

I’ve interviewed maybe a handful and those episodes have done better than any others. People like those episodes but it’s difficult to find someone to interview every single week on that specific topic. Back to your question, that’s the only time I’ve made an announcement or let people know.

That’s what I think most people underestimate and that’s why I wanted to bring it up because they think this is a big deal when you make a change to your show. Going with the flow is fine and your listeners are along the ride anyway. They don’t see it as a dramatic shift. They’re like, “That’s cool, great. This is wonderful,” and anyone new to it is just new to it. They didn’t know what it was like before.

My plan in 2022 is to do more solo episodes. They’re not all going to be solo, but to do more of those, and then I’m thinking about having kid entrepreneurs on.

That’s a great idea. I like that. That sounds fun.

I probably have to think about a release or something. It’s probably something I have to look into. I want to get a bunch of people from Shark Tank on.

You’ve got some great guests. You had Mike. He’s not that easy to get on your show because he’s busy. He does a lot of podcasts but he’s busy. It is hard to get him scheduled in. How do you get great guests?

Another big one I’ve had is Pat Flynn. The thing with Mike Michalowicz was I had tried to get him on the show probably three different times. Either I didn’t get a response or when I did, it was like, “He’s not doing interviews right now.” I don’t even remember at this point. First of all, it helps that he has a new book coming out. I don’t know if it’s up yet when I interviewed him and his book comes out in September, 2021 but it was close enough to where he’s starting to think about the podcast. That’s a thing to mention.

You caught him at the right time.

I was a guest on someone else’s show who I don’t think he knows him as a friend. He’s more of an acquaintance of his. At that time, I had an email signature that had a link to my Dream 100 and I took that idea from The Hustle and Flowchart guys.

They’ve been on the show. They talked about that the Dream 100.

TBF 108 | Cheap Podcast Launching
Cheap Podcast Launching: Guest on other podcasts. If someone’s already listening to a podcast that you’re on, they’re much more inclined to go check out your podcast.


I had a little link and he had clicked it in our communication about the podcast. When I was on his show, he was like, “I saw that you want Mike Michalowicz on. Let me do an intro for you.” He did the intro right away probably the next day, but then I had to hear back from his assistant and so on and so forth, and it was back and forth. It probably took about a month or two for him to get scheduled. That was a story with him. With Pat Flynn, he’s another one I tried to get on a few times and on that one, I don’t think I ever heard back because the only way to contact him is through a contact form, which then goes to his team.

He probably never even sees it. The very select few maybe they get through to him. He has a new private paid community called SPI Pro. It’s $50 a month. One day I was like, “I’m going to go ahead and join it.” I try not to spend too much money because I’m the Frugalpreneur. I was like, “Let me see how it goes,” because there was a bunch of little mini-courses in there. His SPI Pro is not a Facebook group. It’s called It’s a third-party thing. On there, you can direct message people and this wasn’t my plan or goal.

What we’re hearing here is the story of persistence here.

Once I realized that I could direct message people on this platform, I was like, “I might as well.” The first day I was in there, I sent him a message asking if he’d like to be on the show and I told him what it was about and sent him a link and everything. Within two hours, I heard back from him directly and said he had already scheduled because I had sent him to the scheduling link too, just in case.

Be efficient about it. Why go through the back and forth? Let’s get them in while he’s clicking.

That’s how that one came about and maybe the lesson there is sometimes, if you’re paying to be in a community, use the access that it provides you.

Those are some great ideas for how to get bigger guests and how to get greater guests. That’s really valuable. Thanks for sharing that, Sarah. Everyone wants to increase listeners and get better engagement with those listeners. I hear it from the most seasoned podcasters that it’s still what they’re working on. We’re always improving on this. Have you found anything that has worked for you in terms of a boost of listeners or boost of engagement?

For listeners, I would say guesting on other podcasts because if someone is already listening to a podcast that you’re on, they’re much more inclined to go check out your podcast.

If it’s easy, why not?

Exactly, because they’re already a podcast listener, whereas if you were to post on social media, which I do and I recommend you do it because people aren’t too likely to click unless they can play right there within whatever app. They’re not likely to click on it and then go to another app. Guesting is one way. I hate doing paid ads in any way.

I’m with you, Sarah. I have never paid for an ad for our company and I’m not kidding you. I just wrote out a check for this company that we’re kicking off the program. I was like, “It hurt it.” We’ve been in this since 2016 for the business portion of it. I feel really good that we made it for years without doing that but it’s time. We can’t grow to where we need to grow. You don’t get to 8 to 9 figures without some advertising.

That’s true. I did take out an ad on Castos. It’s only $99 for seven days, which I’m like, “I think I can do that.” Most ads like on Overcast are in the hundreds. I’m like, “I’ll try this one.” It hasn’t run yet. I don’t know when this goes out, but it’s running in a couple of weeks because it’s that far booked out or something. It’s like you sign up when they pick the dates. I figure $100 for seven days in a podcast app. I might as well try it. I can do $100.

I love your thought process there. It’s so funny because I typed in and it’s available, but it was $1,200. Part of me was like, “That’s available.” I’m like, “$1,200. Why would she buy that? Why would she need that?” It’s not important at the end of the day. You could do Frugalpreneur Pod and it’d probably be $1 and it still works from your podcast. There are some spends you shouldn’t do and then others used to say, “What if my $100 got me a hundred listeners?” That’s a good spend. Thinking about where you’re going to do it. That’s a good test for you. Have fun. We’ll have to get a report back and find out how it does.

It’s funny though that you mentioned that because whoever owns that domain or the broker, contacts me probably on a weekly basis asking if I want to buy it and literally, every single time I’m like, “How much is it now?”

My tip to you is it would cost you less to file a copyright. It cost you $50 for copyright and then their name is useless because it should be because you have your book title. If you did a trademark, it’d be about the same cost but the value would be there long-term.

I have looked into that. I’ve thought about that. Basically, I tell them, “Let me know when it gets down to $100. A hundred is my number.”

Good for you. You tell them where your threshold is. I love it. That’s so great. That’s funny. The third thing we go over in our tip section here is we go over monetization. How have you been able to monetize your show?

The biggest way probably to monetize a podcast is to have your own products and services. Share on X

One way is through affiliate marketing. For example, when I am interviewing someone with a software program in the earlier episodes. In the show notes, I’ll include the affiliate link or they may create a special link or a coupon code for the listeners to get 25% off with the coupon code Sarah25. That’s been a frequent one.

People can go directly to that website versus having to go through any affiliate link and then use that code, they track it back to me and I get a commission, all this stuff. That’s one way. Also, with affiliate marketing is books. A lot of times, I’ll have someone on who’s written books and I’m like Mike Michalowicz for example. In the show notes, I’ll link to my Amazon associates affiliate link, which you’re only getting 2% to 3%. It’s not much but you get commission on the full cart value.

Whatever else they buy in the cart, you still get money from. You never know. It could be heavy buyers like me. That’s right. Because you had an affiliate background, this seemed like a logical way to go into it but it’s not paying the hefty bills here. Have you found anything that you feel is headed towards maybe working as you shift into almost 100 episodes and then beyond?

One way would also be through the books. I give the eBooks away for free. That’s my lead magnet or my call-to-action, but if someone wants the physical books, that’s one way of making a little income. Like affiliate marketing, it’s not a lot. I tried the whole merch thing like Frugalpreneur merch that never went anywhere. The sponsored ads, unless you have a whole bunch of downloads like in the thousands, that’s not going to pay a whole lot either. All of these are little ways to stack.

I would think that there are got to be sponsors out there that want to be associated with the Frugalpreneur brand and thinking of it from that perspective because their budget software, budget advisors and whatever it might be that they’re selling that the association with that brand. Think about the type of people who read the PennySaver. Do we even have PennySavers out here in California? I don’t think we do.

I’m from New England originally and PennySaver is a Connecticut thing. That PennySaver mindset was like, “If you didn’t have your good coupons in there and you weren’t offering that and you weren’t putting ads in there, then you weren’t reaching the audience who was going to go buy a deal.” You’re not in the right place, so maybe that’s the key for Frugalpreneur is brand association value and not downloaded value.

That’s what I’m working on. I’ve approached a few companies about that and some of them are interested. I think the biggest way probably to monetize a podcast would be if you have your own products and services. I don’t mean products like little books and shirts. That’s $20 here and there, but if you have a course or podcast production agency, any agency, service or maybe you’re a coach or consultant.

Something that’s a little more high ticket?

Yeah. Basically, I use eBooks as a lead magnet or whatever you want to call it. Do you call it a lead magnet when it’s on a podcast?

I think technically, you do, but who knows. If you’ve got a free download of something, it’s still a lead magnet. The digital marketing terms are so blended into the podcasting world. Let’s go with that. We’ll say that’s the case.

You can then market to them through email in addition to your podcast, but with the podcasts, people get to know, like and trust you because they’re hearing your voice at least on a weekly basis, probably if not, more often. They’re more likely to hire you and buy from you than some ad on Facebook.

Did you realize you had binge listeners at some point? Did it go like, “Somebody has binged on all my episodes?” Did that occur for you? Did you even notice?

There are been a few times where suddenly the numbers jump up. One time it jumped up by the exact number of episodes I have. There must be one person who downloaded every episode. I think getting emails, social media direct messages or even ratings and reviews, any of that stuff. Getting that feedback is helpful to know what people like, what you’re doing right or wrong, I suppose.

Before we go on, I don’t want to forget that we did promise everybody, we would talk about ratings and reviews. Let’s talk about this before we head into our whole binge ability segment. Ratings and reviews, you alluded that. You’re not sure you want to have that call-to-action at the end of your show anymore. Why is that? What are you finding with a rating and reviewing?

First of all, this is partially based on other podcasts I’ve listened to that are about podcasting where they’re saying that you’re wasting valuable space. The likelihood that someone is going to rate or review just because you ask them to isn’t very likely. Even if you tell them how to do it, people apparently don’t have time for that. I was already wondering or questionable about that anyway, but then lately hearing various podcasts talk about it.

I don’t know where all the ratings are coming from because you can rate it without reviewing it. Some of the reviews have come from people that have been a guest on my show and not because I’ve asked them to just because they’ve said, “I enjoyed this. I’m going to give you a good review.” There have been a couple of those and things like that. I suppose maybe someone might rate your show because you asked them to maybe, but I don’t know about reviewing.

I rather have somebody share my show. I think you’d rather have somebody share it. When we do it here and we’re recommending it to our setup clients, the ones who are about to launch, we say, “If you really want your ratings and reviewing, the only time they really matter in the first eight weeks, because it has to do with the Apple algorithm, so it has a boost in there.”

TBF 108 | Cheap Podcast Launching
Cheap Podcast Launching: Focus on ratings and reviews the first eight weeks when it actually matters more than any other time, and then switch it to sharing.


Of course, if your show is brand new and have some ratings, help people decide, “This is worth the listen.” That’s not a bad thing on any app. For the first eight weeks, do that, but then switch your call-to-action part in your outro, like we sometimes make two outros and then at the eight-week mark switch it, “If you really enjoyed the show, the best thing you can do to thank me is to share this.” You served them, now you’re inviting them and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t ask. Share with a friend who has a frugal mindset. That could be easy.

That’s a good point to only focus on ratings and reviews the first eight weeks when it matters more than any other time, and then switch it to sharing. If they share it, then that probably does more for you than ratings.

Keep in mind, most people don’t listen to the outro. They’re going to skip it anyway, but if you’re going to ask them to do something, ask them to do share it, because if there’s anything that you want them to do, that is tell a friend.

That makes me think. Maybe there is a way to do this. I don’t know. I haven’t looked into it. I wish there was a way. Let’s say you’re in the Apple Podcasts app and you’re listening. For you to hit share and it, post to social or email, does that already exist?

I don’t know. I’m not an Apple user. I’m not an iPhone user. That’s a Tom question and I will ask him that. I’m a big fan of Goodpods. That’s been the app that I’ve been listening to the most and it’s super easy there to share both within their platform and share out of it. To Instagram something or do that, it’s super easy there.

It’s a good platform for that, so that’s one of my favorite parts about it. It’s how easy all of that is right there while you’re listening to something. I don’t have to go out of listening to your episode. I can rate from within your episode or rate from your show level. It doesn’t matter where I am. I can rate where Apple you’ve got to navigate out to it, I believe and get to the right section. Believe me, we’ve done an of rate and review pages that show people how to rate and review. That’s how difficult it is.

I had JJ Ramberg on.

She’s going to come to the show soon. I’m looking forward to having her.

I really do like that app but of course, I don’t know what percentage of podcast listeners use that app or any of this other more social sharing.

It’s pretty low. The lion’s share is still Apple, Spotify and Google.

I’m wondering if those big ones have away.

That’s what the little apps need to teach them. Show them how good it should be. Let’s emulate some of these good apps like Goodpods. If people are bingeing on your show, what do you think your binge factor is?

I think the binge factor is a few things. One that at least this is what I’ve been told is that I’m a good interviewer or I keep the conversation going. It’s not like I have a set list of questions. Someone answers the question and then I move on to the next thing. It’s more of a conversation. People feel like they’re sitting overhearing a conversation between two friends, probably. I tend to sometimes ask questions that either aren’t common or haven’t been asked before. It’s not always intentional. It’s where the conversation goes.

You’re almost there. It’s that way because you have a specific direction. You’re so clear on the fact that this is The Frugalpreneur and you’re clear about this bootstrapping model, you ask questions from a different perspective. When someone says something, you push back a little bit in a really nice, sweet way. You are not in any way an aggressive host, which there are some out there. You are not like that at all. You’re super sweet and nice, but they’re going to be like, “I’m curious. What if you didn’t have money to do that? What would you do?” It’s your brain thinking through this like, “How would I do that bootstrap?”

You’re expressing that in the questions you ask, and that’s great because I think that’s what your audience is sitting back on. It’s like, “It’s great. Mike Michalowicz has this huge group, but how am I going to do that?” You then ask the question, “How do you do that when you’re at this stage of it?” Your point of view the Frugalpreneur, the frugal point of view, is not talked about enough and your perspective on that is so strong.

You feel very strongly about it, that it’s important and that you’re not going to open your pocketbook for anyone and anything, and you ask the questions in that way. It has a curating effect that is so strong that it makes me want to hear how you tackle this next person. Even though I might’ve heard JJ Ramberg, Pat Flynn, and Mike Michalowicz on a bunch of other shows, I know I’m not going to get the exact same conversation.

That’s a good way to put it. Maybe that’s where I was heading with that.

If you’re just starting out, focus on consistency and patience. Share on X

That’s your binge factor right there. Psychoanalyzed by us here. I love it. I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there who want to start a podcast, but they are thinking that I can’t afford it. What is your frugal advice for those who want to start a podcast?

You can technically start one for free if you use Anchor or there are a couple of others that have free plans and you could use your Apple or your earbuds for the mic. If you have absolutely no money, you could do that, but I recommend having a budget of about $100. Not necessarily per month, but one time and get a mic. I have in HR-2100. There’s also the Samson Q2U.

Just as mine. Mine is the pro version of 2100. They’re cheap enough and they last for a long time. I think I’ve had this particular one for years.

This is the only mic I’ve ever had, a couple of years. I think it was $60 or maybe $80. It’s a USB mic plugged right into your computer. You can get a boom arm, a pop filter, and all that stuff for it as well, which is like $5 to $10 each.

You got the foam cover on and I do too. You could buy 5 of them for $1 or something. It’s ridiculous like that. Those are even cheaper.

Also, I recommend it if you’re interviewing people to have either headphones, earphones, or earbuds like we both do so that there’s not an echo when it’s coming through the computer.

It’s going to make better sound quality. How cheaper are these? I buy them by the dozen sometimes because I like the really cheap ones without the microphones. I don’t have to remember to look and see, “Did I screw up the microphone or settings?” I buy them for 10 for $10 on Amazon and they don’t last forever. They start to fritz out, but then I throw them away and get another pair. No one will steal them because they’re cheap. They won’t disappear off my desk.

I’ve thought about getting the AirPods. That’s what they’re calling it.

We just interviewed someone on our coaching call and she had on the big AirPods, the giant $550 ones. The sound was good but it has a microphone in it but it’s not as good as this mic.

I’m talking about the ones you put in your ear.

They call those AirPods.

They’re $200 or $300.

They’re still expensive.

I’m thinking.

Maybe not for me yet.

It’s easy to get started for under $100. A lot of people assume that it’s expensive to get started because they’re imagining or envisioning a broadcast studio for radio. They’re thinking they have to have all those equipment.

You don’t. You’ve got Zoom already if you’re running a business, just use it. You don’t have to enroll in anything else. You don’t have to do anything fancy. Sarah, what advice do you have for podcasters? If they’re not concentrated on worrying about spending a bunch of money and doing a bunch of equipment, what should they concentrate on?

TBF 108 | Cheap Podcast Launching
Cheap Podcast Launching: It’s easy to get started for under a hundred dollars. I think a lot of people assume that it’s expensive to get started because they’re imagining or envisioning like a broadcast studio for radio.


It depends on where they are in their journey. If they’re starting out, I would focus on consistency and patience because it’s pod fading. That’s a common thing on average for people who makes it to 7 or 10 episodes. Statistically, they say you have to have a podcast for three years for you to see some big results.

If you get to over 50 episodes, which is usually a year’s worth for most people, you should start having an understanding what’s the measurable factor for you. What should I be measuring? What should be the outcome that I can expect from my show? Is it authority? Is it actual business and lead generation? What is it going to be for me? You’ll find it somewhere in that first 50 episodes.

If you get past 100, you’ve now done something successfully with incorporating it with your business that you’re not likely to quit. That’s what we find here and you’re hitting right at that point. You’re like, “I found my stride. Now I’m figuring out how to incorporate that into my business, make my business stronger plus I love it, so why would I give it up?”

This can apply to podcasters and anyone is to try to avoid shiny object syndrome.

Coming from a girl who started that way. Treat podcasting as the shiny object you should keep holding on to.

Maybe that’s in part why I stuck with it or why it’s now my main focus. Once you finally find that thing, then hopefully, you don’t have as many shiny objects because it can make it come to a big distraction and waste a lot of time. I feel like I wasted a lot of time over a decade of doing this than the other thing, but some people say, “If you didn’t do that, then you wouldn’t have written the book about all that stuff, which then you wouldn’t have started the podcast.” There was a point to it.

Sarah St. John, thank you so much for coming to the show. I’m so glad to talk Frugalpreneur and glad to see a frugal podcaster out there bootstrapping her way to a bigger business.

Thanks so much for having me.

I enjoyed my call with Sarah. I love her philosophy. It just aligns with mine and everything. I love that we could deep dive further into it, but the funny part about listening to her is like she reminded me so much of someone else who’s in my network. When that happens, it’s such a great thing. After the call, I said, “I know where you live and I have this other person who lives near you. I swear to God she could be related to you. Let me introduce you.” I love when I can do that at the end of the episode. I love when I can make a deep connection for someone to someone else who’s going to serve them, their business, and their growth well.

That’s what I was able to do for Sarah and that’s my favorite part about doing this show and getting to know your shows. If I get to know your show and I get to know you, I can make matches right there because I had this giant Rolodex in my head. A Rolodex I know is a very old school term and I’m showing my age, but I have it in my head and I can make these natural connections between the best podcast for you to listen to, help you take your next step or the best person for you to meet to help you grow your business to the next stage.

Knowing that I’m matching her with someone who’s also frugal makes it even better because I understand a little bit deeper about you. That’s my favorite part about being a podcaster too is that when I meet someone and they’re calling me to talk to me about their services or their event and they like me to speak there, we already have an understanding of where I am and what I can bring to that process.

That’s what the great part about your show. People are getting to know you and they are absolutely farther along in that process of being able to make better referrals, connections and provide better services assuming they listened. That’s my process here. I want to listen to shows. I wanted to see how good they are. I want to point out the good things that you’re doing and help you improve the things that you’re not. I’m going to do a special episode. Probably by the time this one comes out, I may have already done it, but be looking for it.

I’m going to do a special episode about how to listen to The Binge Factor and FutureBrand for that matter because for both of them so that you can decide what’s worth taking in, because the last thing I want is for you to say, “Sarah St. John, Frugalpreneur, Tracy raved about it. I’m going to go and I’m going to copy everything about Sarah’s blogs.”

I don’t want you to do that for any of the podcasters that I recommend because it might not be a right fit for you, number one. It might not be in your budget, number two and number three, maybe I skipped and didn’t tell you some of the things that they weren’t doing as well as others and I was only highlighting the good thing.

I’m going to teach you a little bit about that in a short episode that I’m going to put in between online here because I do want to give you a little sense of how to listen and get the most out of The Binge Factor as we move into our second hundred worth of episodes. I’m enjoying them immensely because we have so many great and interesting podcasters like the one we had on Sarah St. John, the Frugalpreneur. Until the next show.

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Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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