The Business of This Podcast

Colleen and Michele chat about the business of this podcast.

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Hey, Colleen.

Colleen: Good morning, Michelle.

Michele: I think this
is episode number 85.

Colleen: Cool.

It's a lot of episodes.

Michele: Yeah, and you know, something
got me thinking the other day,

actually, I meant to reach out to
them before I talked about this,

but I guess I'll just do that after.

So, I saw that some guys started
a podcast for two founders talking

about, you know, starting indie
businesses and stuff like that.

Awesome.

People seem to like these podcasts
where founders talk to each other

about starting companies, and they're
just launching, and they were able to

sell ads for over $600 each episode.

Colleen: So, tell me about these guys.

Michele: So it's James McClellan from
Indie Bites, I think I've said his

name wrong, and then Dan Rowdone,
who's like an build in public guy.

So they're launching a podcast.

Super cool.

But, they did this thing where they
launched a form, actually with

reform, right, peter's saying
reform connected to Stripe.

So people could just like go on
the calendar and pick a date.

And then, they just kept, I
guess, kept raising the rates

until people stopped buying it.

But, they got to over 600 pounds per
episode over, which is over $600.

And like people were buying them,
and that's so awesome for them.

But, on the one hand, it kinda made
me think we're doing something wrong

with the business of this podcast.

I mean, now granted, Dan has 30,000
followers, and neither one of us does.

I mean, even the two of us,
like we're normal people.

We're not Twitter, you know big deals,
but still kind of thinking, you know,

like we've been steadily raising our rates
for ads, but we're nowhere close to that.

And it's kind of like, should we,
or I dunno, I guess that's all

I wanted to talk about, like the
business of this podcast, basically.

And, people have been super
conversational in the Twitter community

I got to make, and so we're going
to talk about it here, but maybe our

listeners can jump in with ideas.

How we could better monetize
this podcast and maybe that's ads

with me is like other things too.

Because I just feel like maybe
we're, you know, like we put a lot of

time into this, and a lot of people
listen to it, and maybe this is

worth more than we're charging for.

Colleen: Okay.

I have lots of thoughts on this.

I

Michele: Okay.

Colleen: thing to think about is we don't
structure this podcast like a business.

We're not actively trying to grow it.

I think if we want to bring in
more ad dollars, we need listeners.

And I know we have a lot,
but you know, Rob Wallen gets

thousand 10, 20,000 an episode.

So I think we need to figure out
if that's what we want to do.

And If we do want to do that,
there's a lot of things we could do

to actively grow our listenership.

Michele: If we want to do that.

Colleen: Honestly, the thing about
podcast sponsorship is I don't

know that it's super effective.

I didn't even tell you this.

So you're going to love this.

Okay, so someone from a VC backed
startup reached out to me, and

they are trying to find a way to
use podcasts to reach more people.

And their mission like fit in
really well with our audience.

But what he said, and again, they
presumably have a fair amount of money

cause they're funded is, they have found
that ads just aren't really effective,

and he wanted to do sponsored podcasts.

So he wanted to have one of his men,
he has, it's a mentorship company,

one of his mentors come on our podcast
and basically to a sponsor podcast,

which is a whole different business
model that we've never talked about.

But, his opinion was that was a
lot, they got a lot more return

on that kind of investment.

So, what I'm saying is maybe ads aren't
the best way to monetize a podcast.

And, I just think we need more listeners.

Like our listenership is steadily
growing, but if we really want

it to grow, we need to like your
episode with Arvid, did he play that.

on his.

Michele: Uh, I don't think so.

Colleen: So we should start
doing stuff like that.

I'm down to do it.

I just think that we got to figure out
what we want, if we want to go that route.

Michele: Let's back up.

Let's back up for a second.

So I ran the numbers on this, like I
think there's the conversation of how

much of a business do we want this to be?

And I have so many thoughts on that.

And like, why do we even
do this in the first place?

But I think we just need to start
with the numbers, just so we all

have a sense of where that's at.

Okay.

So year number one, 20 20, we're in
year, number three of this podcast.

Okay.

Sorry.

So your number one, we paid transistor
about $500 and we paid a hundred

dollars for otter.ai for transcription.

And we had zero sponsors.

Well I guess like,
geocodio to the sponsor?

So for 2020, this podcast was
negative $618 and 94 cents.

Not including the cost of me buying
a mic and any expenses you may have.

Colleen: Oh, that stuff.

Yep.

Michele: Yeah, but so basically
negative 600 bucks for the first year.

Cool.

20 21, we started having sponsors
because balsamic reached out to us.

We hadn't even considered having
sponsors, and then they reached

out and wanted the sponsor.

Actually, I didn't even reply their
email for like two months because it

went to our software, social inbox,
and I never checked it and it was

like, oh, somebody wants to pay us.

And then we were like,
do we want to do that?

Is going to make it like fun.

Is it going to feel more like work and
you were like, yeah hi, I'm like trying

to get something off the ground here, it
would be really useful to have like money.

Colleen: of us need the money Michelle.

Michele: That's fair.

That's fair.

So we took, thank you, balsamic.

We took that we charged them $500, I
think for more than a month's worth,

I think it was like six or eight weeks
anyway, so that was $62 and 50 cents

per episode was the first ad we sold.

And I did some research based on it's
like CPM is a thing that like cost

per million, which is X, like cost per
thousand listens that like transistor had.

It was really hard to figure
out like what to charge for a

podcast add, um, especially when
you're a little one like us.

But that felt reasonable and
they were willing to pay it.

So cool.

So all in all throughout last year we
actually ended up getting $4,700 in ad

revenue, slowly raising our rates up
to about depending on how long people

bought for either a hundred or $94.

And then our expenses were the
same, a transistor and Otter.

So we ended with $4,111 last year,
and then this year, so our expenses

will be going up because we had
not only have transistor and Otter.

Did you buy a paid descript?

Colleen: Yeah, I bought paid descript.

Michele: How much was that?

Colleen: I don't remember 15
bucks a month or something.

I mean, I use that for
myself personally as well.

So I consider that a Colleen business's
expense, not a software social business.

Michele: Okay.

But then we also have, you know, we paid
Zencaster for post-production, we're

paying someone to do additional editing
and help with getting the episodes loaded

in and adding the ads on and stuff
like that, which is $50 an episode.

Right.

And has that been every
episode so far this year?

Colleen: We just started
what three episodes ago.

Michele: Okay, so
that's only $150 so far.

So then all in all, with our sponsorships
sold through the end of April including

the expenses we are at at a net of just
under a thousand dollars so far this year.

Colleen: And what does that
project out at the current rate?

If we continue to have a podcast
editor will, we're not increasing.

It depends if we increase, I guess.

Michele: Yeah, actually, I
haven't done a projection.

So it'd be a great use case for
Matt Wensing thing's tool summit,

but I just have a spreadsheet.

Sorry.

Yeah, I mean, I think it would be
reasonable if we end up probably around

that $4,000 mark again, because our
expenses are going up and yes, our rates

are going up, but like I ran through like
a million things in my head about this,

like could we have, you know, two ads?

So we currently have one ad, could we
have two ads in the beginning, but then

like, does everybody just skip those?

Right.

Or, I don't know, should
they be mid roll instead?

Which is when it's like halfway through
the episode, but is that knowing.

Other things like sponsored episodes or
some people suggested swag that feels

really complicated, so here's the thing.

Okay.

Let me, I'm going to brain dump on you.

Colleen: Know, I'm here for it.

Let's do it

Michele: And you're like,
you know, this is coming.

Why do we do this podcast
in the first place?

What was the number one
reason we started this podcast

Colleen: To be a different and
hopefully inspirational voice for

people trying to start their businesses.

Michele: That is a wonderful
professional elevator pitch for

our podcast, but it is not the true
reason we started this podcast.

Colleen: The real reason is
so we could keep hanging out.

Michele: Correct.

So the real reason is to force us to
talk to each other each week, even

though we are, you know, an ocean
and lots of land baths away from each

other that was the reason, right, is
our own loneliness in being founders.

That was it.

And to keep us talking to each other,
but our own loneliness and then force

us to have an appointment to talk to
each other, which honestly, I wish I

had podcasts with all of my friends.

Also.

I wish all of my friends had
podcasts, so I could listen to them.

Like everybody should have just a podcast.

That's my opinion.

So our own loneliness, but then also
as we started doing this, you know, we

realized where these other things of
like, Hey, there really aren't any women

talking about like running an indie
business, like, especially in indie SAS.

Of course now, there's Benedicte
Benedicte is on slow and steady.

And, I guess Nicole from WebinarNinja
has her podcast less focused.

It's a little bit of business.

I love it, but it's not a founder
right along podcasts where to like

we are, but like there still aren't
really a lot of women and it's actually

Benedicte from the slow and steady
podcast was one of the people that

was like, you guys should do this.

Like there aren't any women
podcasting, and we had joked about it.

So that was kind of that thing going on.

But then I think as we started doing
this from the early episodes, we

realized that Beyond solving our own
sense of isolation that we could help

other people feel less alone because
just most of us don't have anybody in

our daily lives who is trying to run a
small internet business on their own.

Like,

Colleen: I know

Michele: you know, I have this t-shirt,
this is, I have a fake internet

business because like that's what most
people in our daily lives think we do.

Colleen: even my own, Husband's confused.

He's like, what, what are you doing?

I don't get

Michele: His job is very easy.

He flies a helicopter.

Very easy to explain you have
an image uploading software.

Colleen: no one understands.

It's like, why don't you
go real job, real money.

Just kidding.

He's never said

That.

Michele: he is very wonderful in
supporting um, But, so we realized

that there was kind of this almost
a space for like the community and

this to, of like other founders.

And also having other founders
be part of the conversation too.

And so being not just about like,
through art, sharing our own

journeys, I guess, helping other
people feel less alone, right?

Like Bernay brown says that, you know, the
only feeling worse than shame is feeling.

And so helping other people feel less
alone, but then also, like not, I think

we've talked about this, like podcasts in
general, there's kind of this like, oh,

let's get a big, you know, barky guests
on, like, and that is just not us at all.

We look for people who have something
interesting to say who more people

should know about rather than somebody
who is already a big deal in most cases.

Right?

You don't have to already been a success.

You don't have to have sold your company.

You don't have to be making
millions of dollars a year.

If anything, it's almost more interesting
if you're not making anything or right.

Like, cause that's where most people are.

And that's what helps us feel
less alone in all of this.

And so none of those three reasons, I just
listed have anything to do with making

Colleen: Right.

Michele: like at all.

Colleen: I think

that making money just happened to us

Michele: which is good,

you

know?

Yeah.

I mean, Hey.

But it's also like, well, and I look
at our list of sponsors too, and

it's like, these are our friends.

I don't know if I would feel right,
okay maybe we could charge, I

don't even know if we could charge
$500 an episode, quite frankly.

Again, people are probably paying
for the fact that Dan Routan has

like 30,000 Twitter followers.

And so there's going to be a lot
of reach that we're not getting.

Colleen: We got to have him on the pod.

Michele: Yeah, I guess so now that we're

Colleen: um, we got to reach
out to him and ask him to come

on the pod and talk about this.

But anyway, continue on.

Michele: There's an episode
I recorded with James, like

months ago that will come out.

So I've been on his, but yeah.

Where was I?

Okay, so maybe we could charge $500 nip.

So maybe we could charge $250 an episode.

I don't know, but like, I don't
want to milk our friends for money.

Like I feel weird about
that, especially where.

Actively trying to make money on this.

And we are actually kind of talking
the other day of like, what is

the point of making money with it?

Like, yes, we have these expenses, but
we're also putting a lot of time into it.

And you propose the idea that it becomes
the Michelle and Colleen conference fund,

which funds basically the two of us doing
our little founder retreat once a year

to a conference like founder summit or
something else, which I really like.

Colleen: Okay.

So I think there's a lot of problems here.

Okay.

I think the first problem Is to
your point, our founders, I'm sorry,

our sponsors tend to be people we
know, and that are our friends.

I think that's the first problem.

I think if we need to decide
what we know, it's not bad.

It's great that our
friends want to support us.

But, we need to get, if we're going to
be see if, and again, we have to decide

if we want to be serious about it, then
we need to figure out how do you find

podcast sponsors outside of Twitter?

Michele: I mean, do we want to go
like cold pitch people to be sponsors?

Colleen: there's gotta be
a marketplace for this.

This has gotta be

Michele: I'll actually
somebody told me about one.

Colleen: guarantee it exists.

Michele: But like, do we even
have the analytics though?

Cause I had somebody reach out to
me who I like didn't know them.

Didn't know the company didn't, you
know, not a friend and like they were

asking for all these analytics on
our demographics and all this kind of

stuff of who listens to the podcast.

And I didn't have any of that
information and like, Yes.

We're still running the survey on our
listeners, which you should go to our

Twitter and take it as the pinch tweet.

But like, I feel like a real legit
professional podcast would say, oh

yes, our average listener is this
income and they're this position.

And like, they buy this much, you
know, like sort of stuff that like

consumer brands would want to know.

Colleen: right.

Michele: Like, and then
they just like dropped off.

I sent them what we had and
with our listener data and

they never replied to me.

So I just kinda got this feeling
that we're just not like legit

enough for like real sponsors
from people who don't know us.

Colleen: Here's the thing is, this
is when we started it to your point.

It was just supposed to be something
fun we did every week, but as it has

grown into a business, it has brought
with it a lot more responsibilities.

And so are we happy with the level
of additional responsibility that

has been put in pressure really?

That has been put on this podcast,
if we're okay with it, I think

we should try to grow it because
why not charge $500 an episode?

That'd be cool.

Like I'm a board.

Or we can say this is fine.

We like the pace.

We like what we're doing.

Here's where I get frustrated.

It's like, you don't
let me skip a week ever.

And so guys, Michelle
doesn't let me skip a week.

If I'm like, I'm tired.

She's like, no, you're not tired.

Get out of.

Michele: I'm standing over
you with a whip to make sure a

Colleen: Basically.

And so it's interesting because we
introduce the concept of guests to

give each other a little bit of a
break and we've had this conversation,

but I love, love, love, love having
guests on, but it is also a lot of.

Because when I have a guest on, I
am going to find a podcast they have

been on already because most of our
guests have already done some podcasts.

I'm going to listen to that.

I'm going to think about
what I want to ask them.

Then I have the actual,
like having them on.

So that takes, even if it's only an
hour, that's going to, if it's a morning,

that's going to take three, three hours.

You know, it takes a chunk
of my work day to do that.

And I love having guests, however,
You know, I have three businesses

now because this is now a business.

And so I don't know, like, I love the
idea of trying to grow this podcast.

Honestly, I feel like for me, some people
blog, I just can't get into blogging.

This is for me, like a great experience
and a great way to talk through stuff and

talk to you and meet interesting people.

But what I'm trying to say is we're
already treating it like a business.

So why don't we really treat it like a.

Michele: Um,

Colleen: Like we're already doing that.

Cause you already won't
let me skip a week.

So

Michele: people like it, people
like that, we publish every week.

We're very

predictable And

Colleen: They'll be

Michele: I know we've also published
85 episodes that are only charging

basically a hundred dollars an episode.

And then meanwhile, people show
up with no episodes and they're

charging 500, which makes me feel
like we are doing something wrong.

Um,

Colleen: So, but I think the number,

Michele: I mean, this is the crisis
I'm having about this right now.

And I've been sitting on this for like,
since I made this spreadsheet earlier

this week, just like stewing about it.

So I feel like I just have like, I'm
overflowing with things to say about it.

This sponsor podcast thing
is really interesting.

Did you get a sense for them?

Like what they, what
they're picturing for that?

Colleen: Ah, well I
showed them our numbers.

And I told them we charged for ads.

I told them we charged $300 an
episode and I haven't heard back.

So that's how that?

went.

Michele: So, okay,

so

you tried to raise our
rate and then it went,

Colleen: exactly what happened.

Michele: I mean, it could be something
where it's, you know, a 30 minute episode

where like I get pitched all the time.

Oh.

The time for guests and we are very
selective about who we bring on fortunate

position that the weekend B, but like
if some company is willing to pay us 30

minutes for a half an hour episode so
that their founder can come on and we do

it as a bonus episode, maybe that's okay.

And we just interview them
like, and everybody knows it's

an, I don't know, like, is that

Colleen: yeah.

I think it's totally cool.

I mean, that's a whole thing.

Okay.

So if

you go back, did you ever
listen to the startup podcast.

with Alex Bloomberg from,

um, NPR.

Okay.

and when he.

He was talking about growing Gimlet
media, his company, before they

were acquired by Spotify, they
were talking about this very thing.

I think it was E-bay did a whole
sponsored podcast with them.

and the concept I think is really cool.

like if you still own the podcast,
you still say whatever you want,

but the podcast is sponsored.

So yeah, let's say they say, I want
this guest on you wouldn't have

someone on who wasn't a good fit.

So.

You would only have someone on who
already fit the tenor of your podcast.

Michele: Um, and it's just like

Colleen: know.

Michele: episode

Colleen: Yeah.

Yeah.

I mean,

Michele: Yeah.

Cause I've heard of like
sponsored URIs podcasts.

Colleen: Yeah.

I would just do an episode.

I mean, this company, like I said, they,
they didn't reach out maybe cause our

listenership is too low, but the concept
I was totally fine with, cause it was

literally a ma a SAS mentoring company.

So I was like, Yeah, I could.

You know, have one of your mentors
come on and mentor me for an

hour and see, and that would be

Michele: Yeah, that would be cool.

I mean, I love interviewing people.

I mean, I, I feel like I could interview
a pile of gravel and make it interesting.

There is something
interesting in everybody.

Colleen: here's the thing.

None of this works unless we have
more listeners, I think we are stuck.

In my opinion, the reason we
can't charge $500 an episode is.

We only get 900 downloads
an episode, which is a lot

BTW,

Michele: that actually,

but we're not stopping.

We're

not stuck though.

I will push back on that.

Like

we are, so we're at 50.

Okay.

We're at 52,000 downloads.

Total.

I pulling up our, this
new trends on transistor.

I mean, last month we got almost
4,000 downloads total and we did.

Okay.

And we did, I don't know how many Tuesdays
were there in January four or five.

So we, I mean, I guess
we did get about eight.

800 to a thousand downloads per episode.

And that's from when we started, like
our, like August 20, 20, we had 777

downloads total for the whole month.

And now we get that basically
at least that per episode.

Colleen: Okay.

Michele: So our growth is really good.

I think.

Colleen: Here's what I think.

If we want to raise our
rates, we need more listeners.

This style of podcast does
not attract high listenership.

The kinds of podcasts that attract
high listenership are the kinds

where you have interesting guests on.

Now, we've started doing a lot more
guests, which is why I think we have

had our listenership growing, but I
think, like that's a lot, like, I'm not

saying it's not, but I think compared
to when you talk, when you want to talk

ads and other things, it's not a lot.

So there's little things we could do.

Like every time we have a guest on, if
they have a podcast, you know, they put

our podcast out in their feed, right?

Like cross promotion and stuff like that.

Michele: I think Alex did that by the way,

Colleen: Yeah.

I just don't think we have
the listenership to demand a

higher rate because we can't.

The thing about attribution and
podcasting is it's really hard.

Like you can't, how do they know?

They're $500 cause they'd buy a month.

So now there are two grand.

Like what's the value in it for them?

Michele: I don't want to lose who we are,
because I feel like we have a very unique

point of view and people really appreciate
this, like just someone this week was

tweeting about how they felt like it
was the same rotating cast of characters

on all of the software podcasts.

And somebody chimed in that, like
ours and, you know, a handful of others

are like the only ones that aren't
like that, that aren't different.

Like, I don't want to become a podcast.

That's just interviewing people
with a hundred thousand followers.

Yes.

Okay.

Colleen: Right.

That's

Michele: Give us more listeners
that would expose us to more people.

I mean, of course Arvid has 50,000
meals, but like Arvid, I feel like

Arvid is like, I don't know our visit.

One of those like thought
leadership people, right?

Yeah.

Like he's just a nice person.

Right?

And actually he did republish
the episode we did with Danielle

to his feed, by the way,

Colleen: Yeah.

Michele: when we did that last yeah.

Like year and a half ago.

I don't want to do that.

I mean, yes, it would be cool to
like, if we did our atomic habits.

Atomic habits, episode
night, interview James clear.

I mean, that would have been awesome, but
like the thing is, is that's not like,

I feel like the core of our show is that
it's relatable and that's not relatable.

Colleen: Here's

Michele: And I, so I wouldn't reject it.

It became my way, but at the same
time, It is just as important to me to

interview people who have 10 followers
and talk about that experience because

that is what everyone is feeling
and what people are not getting.

Is that feeling of relating to other
people I'm feeling like normal, right?

Like feeling like there's
other people in your situation.

That's so powerful.

And, that's what drives me to do this.

And we can't lose.

Colleen: Okay.

Here's the thing, Michelle, if you
hadn't seen this guy tweet or whatever

he did about his $600 an episode would
be even be having this conversation,

Michele: Maybe not.

Colleen: maybe not because what
we're doing is just fine right now

Michele: Yeah,

but it sounds like you
don't like just fine.

Colleen: I'm just saying,

Michele: people

Colleen: it, let's

do it.

Yeah.

Michele: People point out to me that we
were the only podcast hosted by two women

talking about indie SAS, the only podcast.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michele: There's one other that has
one female host that I can think of.

If there are more, please let me know
because I would love to listen to them.

I am not one to trot out
my womanness, so to speak.

I feel like as a professional and
I'm very much like, I really, it only

became something that I even really
thought about once it became clear to

me that like other people perceived
me differently because I was a woman.

If that makes sense, like, I never
really walked in kind of on a

crusade, so to speak from the get-go
But like, that seems like aren't

people willing to pay for that.

Isn't, there's more value beyond the
time we put into it and soft Softlight

Colleen: No, they're not, they're
not, you know why they don't care.

Let me tell you.

Okay.

Colleen's about to soap box.

People pretend that they care about
supporting women, but they don't really

care unless you have numbers to back it.

up.

Right.

So it doesn't matter.

that we're the only women doing this.

That's

not.

Michele: doesn't matter.

Colleen: It doesn't matter.

You can't, you can't add that as a, like,
that's a nice to have if we can provide

the value, But like they don't care.

Michele: But like you reached
out to someone said we've got 85

weeks of publishing every week.

We're getting, you know, 900,
800, 900 downloads every episode.

And yet a podcast with zero listeners,
again, nothing against them, but like a

podcast with zero listeners can charge
over $600 an episode, but we can't.

Because you asked for

Colleen: reached,

Michele: and you got ghosted.

Colleen: yeah, I got ghosted 300.

But his

reach, I think this goes, Yeah,
but, his reach, he is internet

Michele: Yeah, no, I mean, and
again, this is not about them

Colleen: That person specifically, I get

Michele: like, right.

Yeah, exactly.

Yeah.

It's

Colleen: It's just

this is what being a
woman in tech is about.

Michelle.

This is the whole deal, man.

Michele: I hate that too.

I wish people would just forget.

I was a woman most of the time,
like, I really don't care.

I just want to run my businesses and
do my work and just have them like,

if they could just like, forget I
had a gender, that would be awesome.

And then

Colleen: Yeah,

Michele: they would pay me more.

That would be

cool.

Like.

Colleen: I honestly think that Like.

being.

Here.

This is my, This is my whole
philosophy on being a woman in tech.

So this is probably going to offend
a lot of people, but at first, in

the very beginning, it's a good
thing, cause you're a novelty.

But when the rubber meets the road, people
don't really want to listen to women.

They really want to listen
to other men because they can

identify with them better.

And most of our listeners
are men and maybe that's.

Michele: Like,

Colleen: no, and I don't mean that
like, if you're listening, like I'm not

trying to be, you know, mean or nasty
that has just, and maybe I just have

this Like, 20 years of bias, but The
novelty of us being women has worn off.

And when push comes to shove,
people want to give men money.

They don't want to give women money.

They want to listen to men.

They don't really want to listen
to women, and that's just, okay,

maybe I'm super jaded, but that has

Michele: I mean, everyone listening to
this right now is proving that wrong.

Right?

Like everybody listening
to this right now.

Proving that they themselves
don't hold that bias that maybe

they have forgotten that word.

Right.

And like, it doesn't matter.

And I'm like, I listened to myself
think about this kind of a weird

way of putting that, but like,
I'm like, don't make excuses.

We just don't have that many listeners.

Right?

Like neither one of us is a big deal.

We are just normal.

founders like we have what, like 8,000
Twitter followers between us, right?

Neither one of us is a known brand.

Neither one of us, like, we are not
celebrities in any way, shape or

form, and also don't want to be right.

Like, this is also this other conflict.

And I think a lot of, part of what led
to my burnout too, is like, I don't

want to be treated like I'm something
special or on some pedestal above

other people like it, because it was
happening a little bit with the book

and it made me deeply uncomfortable.

I don't feel the need to be somebody
who has a hundred thousand followers

and like a crowd spooning after me.

I don't need that.

I don't want that.

I actively don't want that, but can we
still make money, like are doing this?

And then like, but if we had more
money coming in, like, you know, maybe

that conference or something or other,
these other things that we've talked

about, like could happen fund, right?

Colleen: That's what I'm saying.

We are at a disadvantage.

Okay.

So let's go back to my original theory.

At first, we were a novelty.

People are excited, the
novelty has worn off.

We're at a disadvantage.

And so the only way to claw
back from that is to have hard

numbers to back up our work.

If this, this is And get creative.

Yeah.

So I think that goes back to.

If we want to this to be a real
business and we want to be able

to charge more, we've got to,
we've got to have the numbers.

We've got to have however many
thousands of listeners you need.

And we don't even know, neither
of us have really treated

this like a business though.

So we don't even know
what that looks like.

I think, I mean, you should put a thing up
like these other guys did a reform with a

Michele: Yeah.

I was thinking about that.

I mean, like Peter did sponsor us, right?

Like, and so sure we can
pay him 19 bucks a month.

And, and I guess it integrates with like
Stripe checkout that does add more work

for us because then we're cause we're
splitting all this revenue when this

podcast is not incorporated on its own.

So like that gets kind of complicated.

But, you know, but then again, if
it's all going into like a general

pool that like pays for you and I to
go to a conference once a year, then

that, like, we just keep track of the
accounting and you know, I'm good for it.

Colleen: Yeah, no worried about

Michele: I'm not an Anna Delvy for
anyone else who has been obsessed with

inventing Anna the last couple of weeks.

Uh, Yeah, I mean,

Colleen: I guess here's what I want.

What I want to say about all of this
is the reason I'm happy with what

we're doing right now, but if we're
going to treat it like a business, I

think we should try to make more money.

And I think we should
try to raise our rates.

And I think we should figure that.

out because we're already treated
like, again, back to my joke,

but it wasn't a joke how we've

published this every

Michele: underneath every joke.

Colleen: right.

It wasn't as if you're not going
to let me skip an episode, then

you know, it'd be nice to actually
make more than $50 an episode.

but

but so the other thing I think.

The other thing that I think is
important though, is to me, to me, the

primary value of this podcast is our
relationship and our communication.

I love having guests on, but I
don't want to switch to a all

guests format to try and grow

the pod.

Like if or so, or we can just status
quote we're doing and like, just

be more relaxed about it, but.

I can go either way, but for me, the
value is, is us hanging out and me getting

to brain dump on you and vice versa.

So whatever we decide to do, I
just don't want to lose that.

Michele: I mean, so it's like until,
you know, the last couple of months

or so whenever we had guests, it
was only because like one of us was

traveling or like schedule or whatever.

Like we need it.

We had a gap to fill in the schedule.

And I think the intent of doing
more interviews was that it

would make our lives easier.

I don't know if it's actually ha like,
it sounds, I mean, you're putting a lot

of work into having a guest on, like, it
still requires a lot of scheduling for me.

I have to kick Mathias out of the
office, make sure the dog is taking it.

I mean, there's still like,
there's, there's all of the

coordination that goes into it.

It's still is a lot of work and
then I miss you on those weeks.

I don't get to, you know, we
chat like we text and stuff,

but like, it's not the same.

But maybe we did something where
it's like, you know, maybe we can

probably raise the rates a little
bit on the episode, sponsorships,

maybe do fewer guests only go, just
go back to doing them as needed.

But then for all these people
who are pitching us to be

on, tell them, yeah, sure.

We'll do a bonus episode, $500.

We interview somebody from
your company for a half hour.

And we see if anyone bites at that and
then that's expansion revenue, right?

Well not, no, that's
not expansion revenue.

That's just sort of adding, it's adding
an additional line of revenue to us.

And so then, if we're charging,
let's say 750 for a month of ads,

which is the current rate it's seven
50 for a month or a thousand for two.

Just cause it's easier for us to
manage if it's two months, cause

then I'm invoicing you whenever,
but maybe we'll stop doing that.

So we'll say it's seven 50 a month for the
sponsoring, the episodes between the two

of us or if we have a special guest on and
then $500 an episode for a sponsor episode

and we do two of those a month, right?

Like then we're up to 1750 a month and.

And then it starts to feel a bit more
like a real business and like, and we

don't feel like we're sort of, you know,
squeezing our friends for sponsorships.

Which, I mean, maybe we could do, like, we
could even keep the rate the same and do

two ads at the beginning, cause you know,

Colleen: Now they're already 45 seconds.

They're super long.

They feel super long.

I already think they're too long.

Like when I listened to it, I'm like, oh,

Michele: That's the thing like this
thing about ads is like, if you

don't like listening to them, then
that is not a great user experience.

And I don't want to, like, you
know, go further down that path.

Right?

Does anyone actually listening to an ad.

So I, but I think a sponsor observed
where we're interviewing someone

and, or they're, maybe you're
getting coached by them in some way.

That's really interesting.

We could

do

something, something, like unique
yeah, half an hour or an hour episode.

And we make, we do it
in such a way that it.

Feels a bit, it doesn't feel like somebody
is getting pitched for the whole hour

because that would not work either.

Right?

I mean like a lot of newspapers and
websites and stuff, like they do this

now where you do like a sponsored posts.

I mean, we actually run sponsored
posts on laravel news, like, so,

and it's just like a tutorial about
how to use geocodio with metaphase.

It's not, Hey, you should use geocodio.

Do you have geocodio?

Here's this very heavy
handed, like sales pitch.

It's just like a, here's
how you do this thing.

Okay.

Maybe we do that and then maybe we see it.

Those are big companies that have
money to burn, like, you know,

who want to do that kind of thing?

Maybe, maybe that'll work and then
cause yeah, at this point, like

we're, I'm totally rambling, but
we're basically covering expenses

and then a little bit of extra, but.

If we wanted to make something bigger
happen with the mission of this show,

which is making founders feel less alone.

It has to go beyond this point.

We have to do something differently,
like software, social universities,

of our social fund, whatever, like
that is never going to happen.

Charging a hundred, 150 bucks
an episode as our only revenue.

Colleen: Right.

Yeah.

I am on board with that.

How the, this is another problem.

I think we have is how do we use.

Find those sponsors, like how do
we even, there's gotta be like a

podcast sponsorship marketplace.

I don't think either of us have
looked into that, but we need a

Michele: So I looked at what it
was like for ads, but I like, I

have received probably hundreds
of pitches from companies to

have their founder or whatnot.

Since we started this show and there's
also agencies that have reached out

to me and I have just replied to all
of them saying, please take me off

your list, but so I can reach out to
them and say, Hey, you reached out

to us in the past about, guests.

Like, you know, we're
starting a new concept.

We'll have your w you know,
we'll have your person on and.

Heck, maybe I'll swing for the
fences and say is a thousand

dollars for an hour episode.

We'll do a sponsored episode.

We'll interview them.

They'll sound awesome.

I'm kind of a recognized
expert in interviewing.

You're also pretty damn good at it.

Like, Then we just see if they bite

Colleen: I

Michele: and then the agencies let
they pitch that to their clients.

And we see if anybody bites, but I get

so many pitches from people like.

Colleen: Okay.

It'll be interesting
to see what they have.

like.

what kind of demographics And
numbers they want to cause that

will help us learn how to build
the metrics that these people want.

Michele: And maybe we can position
like the podcast better too.

I've actually, I've been thinking
about rereading, obviously.

Awesome.

And, but I didn't have like
a personal need to reread it.

I was like, oh, this could be
just an interesting thing that

like people on my newsletter might
find interesting or something.

Maybe I should reread it with
an eye towards positioning the

podcast because we haven't really
put any thought or effort into

that

at all.

And, like, this is the podcast that
like founders listened to that they like

listening to, like, people keep telling
me that, like when they ask founders,

which podcasts they listen to, they
name us, they say software social, and

that feels like something would value.

Colleen: Yeah, I think
that's a great idea.

I think we should think about yeah.

How we're going to position.

Michele: Yeah.

Colleen: I love all these are great.

I love it.

I love this idea.

I am so curious to see what happens
when you start reaching back out

to these people and telling them
we'll do a special guest episode.

I think that's a great idea.

Michele: Yeah.

I'm also really curious to see like what
people listening, think of all of this.

Yeah, so we have, if you're on Twitter,
Pretty much like 95% of you are.

I made a Twitter community
called software social.

and you can just go and
actually I need an yeah.

I'll tweet something out.

It's in our, it's in our Twitter feed.

You can find the link to it.

Anybody can join it.

But like, what are your ideas for,
I guess, interesting other revenue

ideas that allow us to create.

Scale this up, both in terms of revenue,
I guess, and, and listeners too.

Right?

That's , the other

Colleen: How many newsletter subscribers
do you have for deploy empathy?

Michele: Almost 500.

Colleen: Okay.

Cause you know what?

Corey, Corey Hayden's,
who's a friend of mine.

He has.

Newsletter and I'll have to ask him how
many subscribers he has, but he sold these

annual sponsorships to his newsletter,
like high value annual sponsorships,

which I just thought was a really cool
idea, like $15,000 for the whole year.

And you get, you know, X number of shout.

I don't know if that was the amount.

Maybe it was 10.

I'll ask him when we get off

the podcast.

Michele: a lot.

Colleen: It's a cool

idea though.

Right?

Michele: many subscribers does he

Colleen: That's what I got to ask.

Yeah.

But I think traditionally I think
the way, so if you look at indie

hackers, which I think is kind of Like.

the model of monetizing a podcast,
cause most people don't, aren't able

to monetize podcasts the community.

Right?

So he, his story, if I recall
correctly is it was the community

and the, the list that marketers
had budgets and they reached out to

him and they started advertising.

I think getting those people together
somehow as a community eventually makes

it something you can monetize as well.

Michele: Yeah.

Colleen: But I like this

first plan of like

Michele: Yeah.

Bonus sponsor episodes.

In addition to the two of us talking
or us talking to another founder.

Colleen: right.

Michele: Yeah, I think trying
to do an every other episode

with a guest is becoming too.

I mean, we were just chatting
the other day about just

like the logistics of all of

it and just

Colleen: just the mud.

Michele: like,

Colleen: Yes.

Who's when

Michele: and there's like, the
thing is, is like there's a million

people I want to have on though.

Colleen: Yeah.

it's

Michele: I just want to talk to everybody.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michele: Yeah, maybe we'll try that.

We'll see.

We'll see.

But let's be, let's be
creative about this.

Let's

Colleen: it.

I'm on board.

Michele: alright.

Colleen: Cool.

Michele: Well I will, will
I talk to you next week?

Or do you have a guest on next week?

I didn't even, I don't deceit.

This is the problem.

I don't even know.

I have to go look at like a
calendar and that's not what

we signed up for with this.

Right.

So.

All right.

Well, you'll hear from at least
one of us next week, maybe

the both of us who knows stay

tuned.

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