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MVP of podcasting – the story behind UK FI Pod

So for those that don’t know – in August I decided to start a podcast. This was to be a UK financial independence podcast. Following some weeks of frantic activity, in September UK FI Pod finally launched and is now available on all main podcast players.

But how did I do it? How much time did it take? Furthermore, as people interested in money, how much did it cost? Now, all will be revealed.

MVP Approach

As UK FI Pod was the first podcast I had ever launched and I have no experience in this area I was not sure of much. I didn’t really know if there was a market – i.e. people willing to listen to a UK FI podcast. Therefore I decided to take the MVP approach.

For my less tech and more normal readers, MVP is a tech acronym for Minimum Viable Product. It means the lowest quality or functionality on a product that allow is to be shipped and be used. The aim is then to iterate the product based on feedback on what users actual want, rather than what you think they want.

Trifecta of Control

As with most things in life, when it comes to podcasting there are three main areas that you can control.

  • Time
  • Quality
  • Cost

Then you need to be clear how much you are willing to spend or compromise on each of these factors. And they are very interlinked as well. The highest perfect quality will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money – this is the starting point to get a radio quality podcast.

However, in the amateur world, you can save costs by spending more time on things. Or you can save time by accepting a lower quality.

Planning a Podcast

I have to admit, I’m someone who loves the planning side of most projects – it’s when my face lights up and I am buzzy and engaged. Podcasting was no exception.

Decide the topic

Well, this was easy  – this was going to be a financial independence podcast. The topic and purpose of the podcast were easily decided.

Source guests

A one-woman show would be really boring if I only talked to myself, so I wanted guests on the show. And convincing guests they’d like to come on your podcast, then arranging logistics is hard work. It took a lot more time to arrange than I expected.

Choose a format

It took me a bit longer to decide on a podcast format, that UK FI Pod was going to be an interview podcast, where I get to interview loads of cool people and learn about their lives and approaches to financial independence.

Trifecta Decisions

Following my frugal nature, I wanted to spend as little as possible on this podcast test. On the other hand, I was more than willing to spend my time and learn about podcasting by doing. And given the audience of fellow frugal people, I wasn’t too worried about the sound quality.

Instead, I focused on interesting conversations and money talk rather than perfect audio. This was going to be an MVP, not a polished perfect podcast striving to win awards.

The Details

As you can below see a lot of conscious choices were made to get the MVP. Every effort was taken to cut costs. And some quality cutting choices were made here to save time as well.

Microphone

Ms ZiYou MVP Podcasting

Microphones are somewhere it gets complicated. While I could buy a top of the range or just a semi-decent microphone, that is only half of the battle. As this is an interview podcast, the guests audio also matter equally as much.

As my guests were already giving up some of their free time to come on my podcast, I didn’t want to burden them with additional costs and expenses.

So we just came as we were; people used whatever audio equipment they had already. While it’s not perfect, I feel it’s more than good enough for an MVP product.

Podcast Hosting

Podcast hosting is one place where the expenses can be surprisingly high. Audio hosting is much more pricey than vanilla blog hosting, due to the more complex needs. The pricing seems to also vary depending on how many people listen to your podcast. Prices were starting at £10 a month and increased rapidly.

However, me being me I have found an alternative to these in Anchor. This amazing company provides podcast hosting for my favourite price of free. And it’s offerings are not that different to those you’d pay for in any meaningful way. Their app and website function really well, and they offer a player you can easily embed into the website or a blog.

I would caution that my research has indicated that a lot of the current hosting providers also started as free and now charge. Anchor have indicated they intend to stay free but I’m not sure how robust their business model is. Given this is an MVP for a podcast, I’m happy to use them now and then re-evaluate if something changes down the line.

Podcast Distribution

Most people like me use a podcast player to listen to all their podcasts. And there are many podcast players out there so it helps to get your podcast out on as many of them as possible. This involves submitting an initial episode to be reviewed and approved, then each additional episode can be automatically published to the player.

You can do this manually, but it is much easier if your podcast host will do this for you. And even though it’s free, Anchor also provides this service and my podcast is available on loads of podcast players as you can see below.

Available on | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RadioPublic | Breaker | Pocket Casts | Anchor | Castbox | Overcast

Editing

Podcasts don’t need to be edited – you are free to publish them warts and all. However, it gives the listener a better experience if you edit out ‘bad’ sounds. Such as heavy breathing, tutting, doorbells, kids, dogs in the background etc. And if you want a clean podcast language-wise, you’ll need to insert beeps over any inappropriate language.

Moreover, sometimes hosts and guests fluff their lines and say umm… errr..  and these can be easily removed from the audio. And personally, I feel it’s a much better guest experience if they know they can get any part they don’t want broadcast edited out – after all how many of us always say the right things at the right time?

You can easily outsource your podcast editing – and I’ve seen prices of £30-40 per episode quoted for costs. Again, I spent zero cash but much time on this, insourcing the editing myself on Audacity. I choose this approach as I love fiddling with new software. I find it a fun activity and enjoy learning and producing outputs.

While I make use of many audio transformations now these were all learned as they were needed. And editing is not a quick activity and requires 100% concentration. I’d estimate it took me on average 3 hours to edit a one hour episode. Although I am getting faster at that now.

Website

While it’s not a necessity, it’s nice to set up a website to hold the show notes and give people more details on the website. This allows you to set up a mailing list and see how many people are interested in the podcast. Moreover, it gives you somewhere online to embed a podcast player so people can listen to the podcast if they prefer not to use a podcast player.

And a website  is the only place where I (gasp) spent money. I had to buy the domain here – ukfipod.space. However, I went for the cheapest domain a snazzy .space domain which only set me back 88p for a year.

The website domain needs to be hosted, and I just added this to my main Ms ZiYou hosting at no additional cost. Finally, I installed WordPress and built the website for the podcast myself, again for free.

Overall MVP Summary

I have had a whale of a time making UK FI Pod. The learning curve has been immense, but it’s been so worth it to me. I have not enjoyed every second, there have been some mega frustrations on the journey but overall it has been very positive and even enlightening.

In summary, I have made a rough and ready podcast that some people are listening to – an MVP that cost just 88p overall. Furthermore, the pay off from the time invested has been benefited me personally, allowing me to develop skills and insights into a new industry.

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Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • Do you have a podcast?
  • Interested in starting a podcast?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

4 comments on “MVP of podcasting – the story behind UK FI Pod

  1. Some great info in here!
    I’ve always wondered how you’d go about doing a podcast. Not really the audio editing side as know a fair bit about that already, but more on the logistics of hosting and getting it on all the different platforms. Actually sounds cheap and easy!

    Cheers!

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