Sep 17, 2013
Cliff Ravenscraft, Podcast Answer Man, Shares His Entrepreneurial Insight on how he got started podcasting as a hobby, then left his job in his families insurance business to launch a successful career as a podcaster.
Cliff Ravenscraft is the founder of The Podcast Mastermind and gspn.tv (Generally Speaking Production Network). Together with his wife and a few close friends, Cliff has produced over 3,000 podcast episodes, since December 2005, devoted to Entertainment, Family, Faith, Fitness, Career, and Technology.
In January 2008, Cliff left a very successful career as an insurance agent, to pursue podcasting full-time.
He felt called to spend his life serving the community that had formed around the many shows in his network.
Being a husband and father of three, he needed to find a way to produce content, serve his community, and also provide for his family. Cliff focused on successfully generating income through coaching/consulting at PodcastAnswerMan.com.
He has helped thousands of individuals and organizations launch successful podcasts through his one-on-one consulting/coaching and through his online training courses.
Part of the reason he was able to go out on his own was that he and his wife got debt free! They followed the advice Dave Ramsey espouses and got out of $80,000 in debt over about five years and the rest is history!
Next, he got clear on what he wanted to do. He can’t help people create “niches to make money” out of thin air. So you need to get clear on what you want to do, “find something you love to do so much that you would do it all day long for free. And then become so excellent at doing that one thing that people will beg you and pay you to do it for them.”
Find something you can do for 18 months and do it 20-40 hours a week on top of your day job and you’ll develop a good, solid foundation for success…but most people don’t want to do that.
Cliff was fortunate in that he had a background in coding and web design. Began blogging in 1996 when it was called “web journals” using AngelFire.com and hand-coding HTML.
Discovered podcasting in 2005 and was commenting on the TV show “Lost.” He left a comment on Entertainment Weekly’s website and they picked it up and overnight he went from 200-300 visitors per month, which was pretty good for a “guy in Northern Kentucky.”
He called in and left a voicemail with his theory about the show, Lost, and gave his website with more information on his theory and EW.com does an entire show on his theory and linked to it.
He went to thousands of visitors per month overnight!
So he spent $15 on a microphone and got some free software and within a few days he had his podcast up on iTunes and by the third episode, he had 17,000 subscribers.
By 10-15 episodes he had 10-15,000 people listening to his podcasts.
“You never know who is listening to anything you put online.”
iTunes was making each episode available the next day for purchase so his podcast was found right next to it. But you can duplicate it with popular culture.
In the business category on iTunes, 40 of the top 50 business podcasts are Cliff’s clients!
If you can get 1,000 to 3,000 subscribers you can easily be in the top 50 in any category.
You can earn $30,000 to $50,000 per month with less than 10,000 followers. He built PodcastAnswerMan.com from scratch.
Cliff left his job in 12 months but was making $500 to $2,000 from his “Lost” podcast. (He was making money selling products and services and reselling as well as doing webinars, affiliate sales and some advertising on his site.) At the time PodcastAnswerMan had less than 2,000 subscribers at that time.
The money came from products and services and training people one-to-one on how to podcast.
His free tutorial is at LearnHowToPodcast.com. There is no funnel there. About 300 people per month launch a podcast without hiring Cliff and he thinks that’s awesome! Learn how to podcast with Cliff’s help for free.
40,000+ people have watched the first video and 10-14,000 people have gone through all 8 videos. Most of those stay on his mailing list, listen to his podcast and are getting to know, like and trust Cliff. But now he’s no longer available for one-to-one training. You can join his group training as a four-week course, which you can find at PodcastingAtoZ.com.
Check out Cliff’s “WordPress For Podcasters” in his Products section of his site.
Before you start your first podcast you need to ask yourself “Why do I want to podcast? What will I talk about? Who is my audience?” Start there.
Cliff recommends audio over video since there are 97 million people that commute alone with an average commute time of 26.2 minutes. And they are jogging or doing the laundry or some other repetitive task that allows them to focus on every word that comes out of my mouth.
Video is expensive and takes a long time to make it professional.
You can spend less than $2,000 and sound as good as any FM radio person.
I don’t want people to view podcasting as a business.
Stick with WordPress and use your website as your home on the web. Do at least one blog post per month. More if you can.
Produce a weekly podcast that runs 20-40 minute is perfect and can become part of someone’s ritual habits.
If you make videos, do more than just show your face!
Puts his videos on YouTube as he’s not too worried about piracy. He wants to benefit from the SEO of YouTube. He’ll use Vimeo Pro to protect premium content.
Authenticity is HUGE to help calm the fears of the listeners about people thinking I’m too big for them. It helps you take it to the next level.
Failure to launch and not knowing what to communicate is what stops people in their tracks. Set it and forget it. Fix it and improve it later. Create an outline. Practice. Do a little prep work.
Cliff preps a minimum of an hour before each episode and each episode is an hour in length and then there are one to three hours of post-production work.
Screencasting is totally different. You can easily do edits and people won’t notice. Professional has benefits as well as being authenticity has benefits.
Just get started. Most people’s first episode is horrible!
By the end of the year, Cliff had 17,000 subscribers! He just got started. Good enough was good enough. But he does want you to improve and take it to the next level.
The average visitor spends 6-8 minutes on his site and he gets 30,000 visitors per month.
Today’s the day for podcasting!
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