How I Built a #1-Ranked Podcast With 60M+ Downloads

The kitchen table where I've recorded the majority of my podcasts.
The kitchen table where I’ve recorded the majority of my podcasts.

This is my first public exploration of the business and art of podcasting. I still have much to improve, but I’m ready to share a few lessons learned. It’s my hope that they’ll save you a ton of time.

I’m still flabbergasted by how this experiment took on a life of its own.  It started with too much booze with Kevin Rose, and I expected it to die a quiet death after six episodes.

That said, here are a few quick stats on The Tim Ferriss Show after 150 episodes of mucking about, screwing up, and refining (as of this writing):

  • Nearly 70,000,000 downloads as of April 2016 [Update: As of January 2023, more than 900M]
  • More than 2,500 reviews on Apple Podcasts, 2,100+ 5-star reviews
  • Selected for “Best of iTunes” in 2014 and 2015
  • Out of 300,000+ podcasts on iTunes, it’s generally the #1 business podcast and an overall top-25 podcast
  • Won “Podcast of the Year” in 2015 for the Jamie Foxx episode (via Product Hunt)

I’ve certainly stumbled a lot, but that’s how you figure things out.

I’ll share the first batch of big lessons in this post. If you like it, there’s a whole lot more to divulge (e.g. exactly how I get guests, etc.). If the response is a collective “meh,” I’ll play with my dog instead.

I’ve formatted this little ditty as a Q&A, based on the most common questions from readers, podcasters, and journalists.

Hope you find it useful!

The overarching principles explored apply to a whole lot more than podcasting…


QUESTION: Why did you start the podcast? How has it evolved over 150 episodes?

The podcast was never intended to be a business.

I was burned out after The 4-Hour Chef, which was nearly 700 pages, and I wanted a casual but creative break from big projects. Since I enjoyed being interviewed by Joe Rogan, Marc Maron, Nerdist, and other podcasting heavies who really move the needle, I decided to try long-form audio for six episodes. If I didn’t enjoy it, I would throw in the towel and walk.

My rationale: Worst-case scenario, the experience would help me improve my interviewing, which would help later book projects. This is a great example of what Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, would call “systems” (win even if you lose) thinking. He discusses this at length with me here.

Flash forward to the current day, the podcast has found a nest in my “business,” but there is a clear hierarchy. Here are the pieces, in descending order of importance:

1) E-mail newsletter and 5-Bullet Friday — Unlike, say, Facebook or Twitter, I own this communication directly and it’s less subject to the whims of algorithm changes (e.g. “Oops! Now you only reach 10% of your audience.”). Some people insist that e-mail is dead for younger generations, and they’re right… until those young people get jobs. E-mail will stick around for a while, despite attempts to kill it.

It’s still the most reliable delivery mechanism, although mobile push notifications are increasingly interesting to me. Though I use Slack for internal team communication, email is still #1 for external.

2) Blog and website — Based on WordPress VIP, ditto for the above. Even if Automattic goes out of business (disclosure: I’m an advisor, so I think this unlikely), WordPress is open source and I’ll survive. Video and audio are fantastic, but few things travel as well as text. Unlike video and audio, I feel there is a greater appreciation of page value with solid long-form, evergreen text content. The vast majority of my most popular posts are years old (e.g. Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days, Scientific Speed Reading). The best SEO is good, non-newsy content that remains relevant for years.

3) Podcast — This is the fastest growing piece of the puzzle, and I’m heavily investing here. Unlike the above two, audio can be a secondary activity. In other words, people can listen to my podcast when they commute, cook, walk the dog, work, etc. There’s also no degradation of experience when moving from laptop to mobile. Last but not least, I’m currently having the most fun with audio.

All that said, I put “business” in quotation marks in this answer because I don’t rely on my writing, etc. for money.

The majority of my finances come from early-stage startup investing, which I started in 2007 (portfolio) and stopped about six months ago. For this reason, I don’t feel pressured to monetize, per se. I put out what I want to put out, when I want to put it out, and that’s it.

Paradoxically, this seemingly lax approach appears to generate more revenue than if I focused on pushing product. My fan dedication (and occasional conversion) is high precisely because I don’t constantly bombard them with sales pitches and calls to action. Sure, I could make $5-10M additional per year for 1-3 years until I burned my audience out, but these people (you!) are worth far more to me than that. They’re a high-calibre bunch, people I want to be friends with rather than irritate.

Your network is your net-worth, and there are many ways to build it. Content is definitely one tool.

QUESTION: Does the podcast make any money directly, though?

Yes. If I wanted to fully monetize the show at my current rates, I could make between $2-4M per year, depending on how many episodes (“eps”) and spots I offer.

So why “if I wanted to fully monetize?” Because “fully monetizing”–bleeding the stone for all it’s worth–is nearly always a mistake, in my opinion.

I want to convert casual listeners into die-hard, fervent listeners, and I want to convert casual sponsors into die-hard, fervent sponsors. This requires two things: 1) Playing the long game, and 2) Strategically leaving some chips on the table. As a mentor once told me, “You can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin him only once.”

So, don’t skin your fuckin’ sheep, kids. In practical terms…

The podcast over-delivers for sponsors (here’s one example), partially because I deliberately undersell downloads. If I hypothetically get 1M downloads per episode, I might only guarantee (and charge for) 750K downloads.  This has attracted and kept sponsors ranging from Audible and Wealthfront to MeUndies and 99Designs.

I don’t have any sophisticated “funnel” or loss-leader campaign. I charge each sponsor per thousand downloads/listens that I guarantee. This cost per thousand (e.g. downloads, impressions, delivered email, etc.) is abbreviated as “CPM,” and the amount you charge per M (“thousand” in Roman numerals) is your “CPM rate.”

I’m not going to give my exact rates in this post, but I’ll give you something better: the bigger picture.

Premium podcasts tend to charge between $25-100 CPM. By “premium,” I mean high-converting, (often) single-host (due to Oprah-like sales impact), iTunes top-50 podcasts.

Let’s look at some numbers. If you can hypothetically guarantee 100,000 downloads per episode, as measured at six weeks post-publication (which seems standard for some odd reason), here is how the math shakes out at different CPM rates:

$50 CPM x 100,000 = 50 x 100 = $5,000 per sponsor per episode

$75 CPM x 100,000 = $7,500 per sponsor per episode

$100 CPM x 100,000 = $10,000 per sponsor per episode

Now, if a podcaster can guarantee 500,000 or 1M downloads/listens, you can see how the numbers add up.

To put these rates in context with other advertising, consider banner ads and email newsletters targeting high HHI (household income) demographics.

On the cheaper end, display/banner ads often cost less than $10 CPM, but a high-converting email newsletter can sell ads/sponsorship at $200-250+ CPM (with no guarantee of opening, only delivery). Premium podcasts currently fall in the middle.

Some podcasts charge $100 CPM or more and are worth it, but… I like setting numbers I can easily beat.

Any marginal short-term loss is made up for by repeat sponsors and larger, long-term purchase orders.  I also rig the game to tilt ROI for sponsors by including blog posts (~2.5M uniques/month), e-mail newsletter (500K-1,000,000+ with sharing), and social (2M+) in the podcast sponsorship versus charging separately a la carte. That might change, but it currently guarantees that 90%+ of my sponsorships clobber competitors, as the cumulative CPM is probably 50% below market.

(Related: If you spend at least $100K per year in marketing and are interested in test sponsoring the podcast, click here for more. Minimum test spend is, at least, $50K-$100K. Seriously inquiries only, please, and pricing is non-negotiable.)

Note to everyone asking “How do I get sponsors?”:  It’s critical to realize that I didn’t accept advertisers for the podcast until I had 100,000+ downloads per episode, as measured six weeks after publication.

Novice podcasters (which I was) and bloggers get too distracted in nascent stages with monetization. In the first 3-9 months, you should be honing your craft and putting out increasingly better work. Option A: you can waste 30-50% of your time to persuade a few small sponsors to commit early and stall at 30,000 downloads per episode because you’re neglecting creative. Option B: you can play the long game, wait 6-12 months until you have a critical mass, then you get to 300,000 downloads per ep and make 10x+ per ep with much larger brands. If you can afford it, don’t be in a rush. Haste makes waste; in this case, it can make the difference between $50,000 per year and $1,000,000+ per year. To reiterate a phrase more often used for blogging: “Good content is the best SEO.” Read The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing to be different, not just incrementally better.

But…all this advertising talk is important to consider in the context of higher-level strategies. In podcasting, it’s easy to get stuck in the CPM and what-preamp-do-I-need? weeds. Decide on your larger framework and philosophy first.

Example — In general and across the board, I split my content in a very binary fashion: free or ultra-premium.

“Free” means that 99% of what I do is free to the world (e.g. podcast, blog) or nearly free (books). I write on topics A) that I enjoy and want to learn more about, and B) that I think will attract intelligent, driven, and/or accomplished people. This is what allows “ultra-premium.”

“Ultra-premium” means:

  • Once in a blue moon, I offer a high-priced and very limited product or opportunity, such as an event with 200 seats at $7,500-$10,000 per seat. I can sell out a scarce, ultra-premium opp within 48 hours with a single blog post.
  • I use the network and contacts I’ve built through “free” to find excellent non-content opportunities. I already mentioned one example: my early-stage tech investing. This came from the first book, blog, and social. I found Shopify, for instance, via my fans on Twitter while updating The 4-Hour Workweek. I started advising Shopify when they had ~10 employees. Now they have 1,000+ and are a publicly traded company (SHOP).

An openness to indirect paths means I don’t obsess over selling my content, and I never have. If the podcast sponsorship stuff turns into a headache, I’ll just drop it. Not to beat a dead horse, but let’s restate the most important takeaway — my network, built through writing, is my net worth. That travels with me. If you’d like more practice thinking laterally, try the work of Edward de Bono as an introduction.

Back to the money…

Whenever possible, I avoid what I consider the “blood-bath zone” — products or services priced from $20-100. This is where your customers will be at least 1/3 high-maintenance and cost-sensitive. For my minimalist preferences and operation, that’s too much customer service headache for the ROI, unless it’s automated like my book club with Audible.

[Afterword: I asked my Managing Editor to proofread this post, and he gave me the below comment. I’ve decided to simply copy and paste it.]

*** Tim: I think you should dig in more on just how much money you actually pass up. Including:

1) You don’t do more than 2 sponsors per ep (you could).

2) You vet [and use] all products and turn down >80% of advertisers.

3) You turn down sponsors that want you to do ridiculous reads. I’ve seen it multiple times where advertisers are like, “We need this to be longer” and you tell them to fuck off. This is important. You value your listener waaaaaaay more than they ever realize, and do it to the tune of legitimately millions “lost.” It’s not lost, but is worth mentioning and understanding.

4) You want the ads–like the content–to add value. You’re hoping when you hear it for the first time that you think it’s cool, new, different, or interesting. Otherwise, you wouldn’t share. When you hear it the 4th time, are you tired of it? Maybe. But your fourth time might be someone else’s first. It’s like complaining about shared content on social media. Just because you’ve experienced something before, that doesn’t mean everyone has, and your job is to best serve the audience. You do pre/post roll [instead of mid-roll] to make avoiding this easy: if you don’t like it, they can simply fast forward.

QUESTION: What’s your long-term revenue strategy with the podcast?

There is no long-term revenue strategy. I focus solely on making it as fun as possible for me to do. But — perhaps this itself is a solid strategy, not a lack of one. Simple can be effective. At least 50% of the venture capitalists I’ve met over the years laughed at my simplistic “scratch my own itch” investing approach. Net-net, I’ve now beaten most of their IRR. (Don’t get me wrong; many investors perennially kick my ass.)

For me, the moral of the story is this: Revenue opportunities often present themselves if you focus on creating something you’d pay for yourself.  If you can easily sell it to 10 friends and do some basic market research on top of that, the odds improve.

Of course, “scratching your own itch” doesn’t always work, but I think of it as necessary but not sufficient. If you have enough at-bats, and if you know how to limit losses (knowing when to fold ’em and walk away, like my six-episode commitment), you’ll eventually hit the ball.

The recipe is straightforward — Study the craft like it’s your job (e.g. Find people like master interviewer Cal Fussman), make yourself smile, don’t rush, don’t whore yourself, test a lot of wacky ideas, and think laterally. If you want to increase your income 10x instead of 10%, the best opportunities are often seemingly out of left field (e.g. books → startups).

Just remember that, even in a golden age, podcasting is a squirrely opportunity and not a panacea on a silver platter. Even if you work smart, you still have to do the work and take your lumps.

Amelia Boone, the world’s top female obstacle racer, said on my podcast that she’d put the following on a billboard: “No one owes you anything.” I think that’s a good mantra for life.

Try your best, take notes, and do better the next time.

QUESTION: What gear do you use for the podcast?

The recording gear is better and cheaper every year. It’s extremely easy for me to travel with a small recording studio in my backpack. If you’re on a budget, even an iPhone will do, but–bang for the buck–the ATR-2100 is hard to beat.

My mantra for gear is borrowed from my podcast with Morgan Spurlock: “Once you get fancy, fancy gets broken.”  Keep it simple.

For post-production and editing, I used Garageband for the first 30-40 episodes, but I now outsource to people who use primarily Ableton and Hindenburg. The simplicity of the latter is very appealing to me, but as a pure editor, it doesn’t include sound effects, transitions, etc. as a Garageband does.

Pat Flynn, a seasoned podcaster who’s helped me a ton, made a great and free podcast-editing tutorial for you all. This covers nearly everything you need to know for basic post-production.

For free options, Audacity is also popular. My suggestion: use the simplest editing software you can, or pay someone to do it for you. If Garageband appears too amateur for your first 1-3 episodes, I’d bet money you quit before episode 5. Keep it simple.

Regarding consumption and promotion — I love Marco Arment’s Overcast, both as a listener (smart speed) and podcaster (can link to specific time stamps). My wish and ask for them: to embed a small player on my blog instead of having to link out.

QUESTION: Is it too late to start a podcast? Don’t you feel pressured by all the competition? it seems like thousands launch every week.

Competition makes you better.

Everyone should try podcasting for at least 3-6 episodes, even if just to get better at asking questions and eliminating verbal tics. Those gains transfer everywhere.

If someone ends up better than me (or ranking better than me), they deserve to beat me. I’ll be the first person to buy them a beer. Remember that podcasting isn’t a zero-sum game, and a rising tide raises all ships (Check out the “Serial effect”). There’s plenty of room for more good shows, and the pie is expanding. Bring your A game and the cream will rise to the top.

Of course, you don’t need to be perfect (and you won’t be), but you need to try your best.  As Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited, told me over coffee before I wrote The 4-Hour Workweek: “If you’re going to write a book, write a fucking book.”

If you start out bad but are incrementally improving towards awesome, that’s totally fine. If you’re half-assing it and coasting, find something else you can whole-ass.

QUESTION: How much time do you put into the podcast? Aren’t you The 4-Hour Workweek guy?

The 4-Hour Workweek is, first and foremost, about 10x’ing your per-hour output. I have no problem with hard work, as long as it’s applied to the right things, and I never have.

This is partially why The 4-Hour Workweek and the podcast have attracted some of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers and start-up founders. They might work 80+ hours per week, but they value efficient and elegant solutions.

The objective is to control your time — a non-renewable resource — and apply it where you have the highest leverage or enjoyment. For me right now, the Archimedes lever is clearly the podcast. I get to interview the most fascinating people I can find, including Rick Rubin, Jamie Foxx, Maria Popova, General McChrystal, Tony Robbins, and dozens of others. I would pay a small fortune to do this. Instead, I somehow get paid. For the time invested, especially when batching (e.g. I try and record eps on Mondays and Fridays, two weeks a month), it has the most disproportionate hours-to-ROI imaginable.

I don’t want my readers to be idle. Mini-retirements are wonderful (here’s a month-long example), but I’m not going to spend my entire life on the sidelines. This is all covered in the “Filling the Void” chapter of 4HWW, but it bears repeating.

For those curious, here’s what one of my days looks like. No two are quite alike.

QUESTION: But–for God’s sake–I don’t have bestselling books or a big blog! You had an unfair advantage. What can I do?

Get started.

Remember Amelia Boone, the most successful female obstacle racer in history? No one owes you anything. So… gird your loins and fucking get amongst it. Prepare to bloody your knees and learn a lot.

Yes, I came into podcasting with a text-loving audience, but guess what?

#1) Like everyone else, at one point, I had zero readers and zero listeners. We all start out naked and afraid. Then your mom starts checking out your stuff, or perhaps a few friends give a mercy-listen, and the fragile snowball grows from there. Here are a few ugly first versions of popular blogs. Mine was incredibly unpopular and hideous.

#2) Coming to the party with a pre-existing audience isn’t enough. Celebrities, YouTube icons, and bestselling authors start podcasts every week that get abandoned three weeks later.

Fortunately, the most common pitfalls are easy to avoid.

Here are a few things I found helpful that might help you:

1) Upload at least 2-3 pre-recorded episodes when you launch your podcast (real-world example). This appears to help with iTunes ranking, which — like bestseller lists — can be self-propagating. The higher you rank, the more people see you, the higher you continue to rank, etc.

2) Keep the format simple. Most would-be blockbuster podcasters quit because they get overwhelmed with gear and editing. Much like Joe Rogan, I decided to record and publish entire conversations (minimizing post-production), not solely highlights. I also use a tremendously simple gear setup and favored Skype interviews for the first 20 or so interviews, as the process is easier to handle when you can look at questions and prep notes in Evernote or a notebook.

As Tony Robbins would say: complexity is the enemy of execution. You do NOT need concert hall-quality audio; most people will be listening in the subway or car anyway, and they’ll forgive you if recordings are rough around the edges. Audio engineers will never be fully satisfied with your audio, but 99.9% of listeners will be happy if you’re intelligible and loud enough.

3) Don’t pursue or even think about sponsors until you have a critical mass. I discussed this earlier. It’s a distraction. Play the long game.

4) Get transcripts and send highlights with pitch ideas to print/text journalists. I have done this with several outlets, and it’s resulted in some outstanding original pieces like this one from Business Insider, who came up with the story angle on their own. I suspect this type of coverage also helped the Jamie Foxx episode win “Podcast Episode of the Year” on Product Hunt.

5) If you use blog posts, utilize graphics to increase podcast downloads/listens for your target platform. This is a tip I got from podcasting veteran John Lee Dumas. Here is one example of mine, where the iTunes button is exceptionally clear.

6) Experiment constantly. I have tested conversations in a sauna (Rick Rubin), solo Q&As based on reddit submissions (e.g. Maria Popova, Round Two), drunk dialing fans via Skype, audiobook excerpts (e.g. Tim Kreider), and more. It’s easy to assume that labor-intensive, polished episodes get the most downloads. Luckily, sometimes the opposite is true—the easy, low-labor stuff kills. This experimentation also keeps things fun for me. Podcasting isn’t radio, and there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules. Go nuts and let the world tell you what works.

A Few Closing Thoughts

There is no reason to bore your listeners (or yourself) because you’re slavishly following someone else’s playbook.

This post explains a few things I’ve found useful, but they’re guidelines at best, not rules.

Borrow, be ridiculous on occasion, and be yourself. This is one medium where it can pay 100-fold to simply be you: warts, weirdness, and all.

How about throwing chimpanzee screeches in the middle of an episode? Fuck it, sure. Making weird Mogwai noises during the intros with no explanation whatsoever? If I’ve had enough wine, definitely.  Recording last-minute guest bios in an airplane bathroom? Done it.

If you make yourself laugh every once in a while, at least you will have fun.

And that is perhaps the best strategy of all.


Last but certainly not least, I want to thank a few smart people who generously spent many hours educating me on the details, tech, and craft of podcasting. In alphabetical order by first name (and if I forgot anyone, please let me know!):

Jason DeFillippo of Grumpy Old Geeks

John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire

Jordan Harbinger of The Jordan Harbinger Show

Lewis Howes of The School of Greatness

Matt Lieber and Alex Blumberg of Gimlet Media

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income

Rob Walch of Libsyn

You can find the most popular episodes from 2021 here, from 2020 here, from 2019 here, and some earlier popular episodes here.

If you enjoyed this and would like more on podcasting, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll write more. Specifically, what would you most like to know?

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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266 Replies to “How I Built a #1-Ranked Podcast With 60M+ Downloads”

  1. Amazing post, really open. Fun to be with you from the beginning on this one.

    I would like to know more about how you get people on the podcast. Specially when you have no common friend with them. Do you call, email first, how do you manage yours and their agenda?

    After how long, or on which cases do you opt for a skype call, or when do you make an extra effort to be there?

    And about the prep, how much time do you put into it? How long before an interview will you read their material, and do you have anyone doing this for you?

    The podcasts are amazing, I’ve found so many good people and read so many books after (ex: Sam Harris, Dan Carlin, Josh Waitzkin, the list goes on and on).

      1. Obviously I’m not Tim Ferriss, but I was able to get quite a few A-guest on my podcast (Belgium) without any audience. I told myself that nobody would like to get interviewed by me because I have no ‘tribe’, no blog, no nothing. Today, four months later, I talked to the one of the few billionaires (successful entrepreneur), a minister, famous filmmaker, a Belgian astronaut (Frank de Winne), top journalists, professors, @sjokz (you might know her from League of Legends) and other high profile people with great great stories. I didn’t know any of them beforehand.

        What I did:

        – write a genuine e-mail. I could copy past mine but it’s in Dutch. Just send a plain email explaining what you want to do, how you see the interview, what leads you to them.

        – explain how long it will take and make sure to play the long game, as Tim stated. Don’t ask them to make time for you tomorrow. Ask them to plan the session, even if it’s months from now.

        – I might do a follow up call if they don’t reply after a couple of emails, but this is rare. I find this strategy quite intrusive. It is effective though, and they get to hear the person spamming their inboxes, which might help.

        What I learned:

        – most people are pleased that someone finds them interesting enough to talk to.

        – be respectful and prepare your interviews well.

        – if you do your job well, your guests will get you in touch with possible future guest from their own network (that’s how I got an interview with the Parliament Speaker).

        Every hour of audio takes me >8 hours. On average: 1hr of preparation, 2hrs on travel (mostly combined with preparation), 1h-2h interview, 1h-2h first listen, 2h post production, and then some smaller tasks like publishing it on the website et cetera. I outsource my design work and transcripts.

        Again, I am not Tim Ferriss, but this is how I approach(ed) it. Go for it.

      2. Hi Tim, I just wanted to throw some kuddos your way for the most recent Josh Waitzkin episode. That was really inspiring and refreshing to hear. I really enjoyed being a fly on the wall during that conversation. Thanks for the opportunity.

      3. I’d love to hear the answers to these questions as well. This was a really useful post, and as always I appreciate the conciseness!

      4. I’d like to second the questions Felipe commented and also add a couple of my own.

        1) What do you think about sharing a copy of the major topic points with the interviewees in advance? Yay or nay? Do you think it will take away from the value of spontaneity?

        2) When doing Skype interviews, what is your choice of capturing software? Just out of curiousity, although I’m sure Seth Godin would reiterate his Stephen King’s pen story.

        I’ve been a big fan for the past 7 years. If you were to ask me what books I gift to people the most it would be the “4 HR series”. No joke. Not even a little. And now with your podcasts, you’ve given new meaning to my morning commute. When I’m not refreshing the podcast app for new episodes, I’m re-listening to the classics.

        Keep up the amazing work and please continue to recommend awesome new products and services. Hope you follow up on this podcast blog.

    1. Hey Tim, I really love this post on becoming known. It’s interesting on how you were able to start from nothing and earn up a following of 60M listeners. Did you read any books on how to start this?

  2. “…few things travel as well as text. Unlike video and audio, I feel there is a greater appreciation of page value with solid long-form, evergreen text content.”

    Yes, I appreciate solid long-form text content, and evergreen content is even better.

    Maybe that’s true only for people of a certain age, though. What about people a decade or so younger, who have grown up with the web? Just tossing out that question. I don’t really expect an answer. It’s something I might look into for myself.

  3. Thanks for the shoutout to The Art of Charm podcast. Very cool to see your growth, especially recently, and the rising tide is something we can all look forward to as the podcast market expands.

    Recently, traction on Spotify and even some other non-podcast-y places are proving that folks who normally don’t listen to podcasts can likewise be ‘converted’ which bodes well for those of us playing the game and practicing the craft well.

      1. Of course! I think this platform has legs. The more you and I prove that idea, the more people will take it seriously and the easier our guest booking gets 😉

    1. Tim, found you through the Art of Charm. Had never even heard of the 4 Hr Workweek. Have now read two of your books and listened to a ton of the podcasts. Additionally, you introduced me to Casey Neistat, who inspired me to get back into my passion for filmmaking after I started getting into his vlogs. All of this has made my life so much better. Thank you guys 🙂

  4. Thank you for the post Tim. This is great information. Also, how do you get guests to agree to be interviewed for the podcast especially when a guest is not promoting something or a friend.

    I would like to know more about interviewing. Specifically, how do you get fantastic and honest answers from your guest, and what have you learned from the people you have spoken to about interviewing (I think you have mentioned in a podcast that you have had conversations with Larry King and others). I would also like to hear any learnings around preparing for a guest and research.

    One thing that I am always impressed by in your interviews is when you speak to guests about where/when you first met. As someone who finds it difficult to make friends as an adult I am impressed that you seem to become friends with a person who you might have met once at an event. That you are then able to initiate (likely in a way that does not seem needy or weird), deepen and sustain the relationship is interesting to me. I would love to learn how you do this and any suggestions you have around it.

      1. Tim, I also would be interested to hear a little of how you prep for interviews. Your style (ala Joe Rogan as you mention) of the entire conversation really works for me (as a listener).

        Specifically, I’d be interested in the degree of discussion that takes place between you and the interviewee beforehand. I’m sure everyone is different and everyone has different boundaries, but curious to hear you take.

        BTW, loved your interview with Dr. D’Angistino about cancer and ketosis. Fascinating stuff.


      2. I second interviewing. Additionally, myself and a friend just launched a podcast but I’m looking for ways to grow our listenership. Techniques on doing that (getting a solid recognizable name on, etc.) would be great! I care less about monetization and more about growing the podcast. Is it all about crafting content people want? That makes sense but how do you research that? Thank you!

    1. I think one of the keys is to listen. Listen to that person you meet at an event. Ask them to expand on their stories. Don’t just tell them what you’re excited about. That way it’s easy for you to come back to them with a request for more information on a topic they talked to you about.

  5. Good stuff as always! I can tell everyone out there that what Tim says towards the end is true. We all start out with zero readers and zero fans, and all we can do is get started. I’m about 5 years into blogging and it’s been an awesome ride!

  6. And this is why I love you!

    Your transparency and willingness to play the long game are what always inspire me!

    1. And this was such an awesome overview to podcasting!

      This is going to take me multiple reads to let it all sink in.

      More than podcasting, it’s the “ask interesting questions & keep a good conversation going” that grabs me!

  7. I really liked your mentors quote…

    “You can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin him only once.”

    …until I realized that I’m one of the sheep.

    Even so, this ram enjoyed the article. 🙂

  8. Thanks for being an inspiration. I started a podcast about Success in the US much thanks go you and my buddy. You always give more than you take, keep it up!

  9. You are Awesome! How can I get my boss to speak with you? He would be fantastic guest on your podcast…author and entrepreneur extrodinaire…Who can I contact?

  10. Tim, I love the podcast…I’ve listened to every single episode and not one has disappointed! I really like the minimally-edited, long-form conversations, and I appreciate that you don’t break them up with mid-roll ads. I would like to hear more about how you reach out and connect with your guests as well as what your research/preparation process looks like.

  11. How do you think about putting the podcasts up on Youtube or not? For example, I listen to Bill Burr’s podcast and Marc Maron’s podcast on Youtube generally. I listen to yours on my phone or I click on the email link that I receive. Is Youtube much worse for monetization or is it a question of having the content in too many places?

    1. I can tell you that I almost exclusively listen on mobile – commuting and sometimes while working (engaging my subconscious mind) and YouTube is a prohibitively massive data hog.

    2. Curious – when you listen on youtube, is there a video component, or are you just listening w/ a static title screen?

      1. no video component, but I have a tab open playing the podcast while I respond to emails or do some other work.

    3. IMO: youtube is inconvenient because if you open another window to use your phone, youtube stops playing what I am listening to. iTunes works great for me. I’m a huge podcast listener on my iphone while I’m exercising and driving and even doing things at home (I would never even consider using youtube to listen to a podcast).

  12. This is awesome! Pure gold – I will be going back to this post several times. I love how just about everything you write, post or podcast seems to have a timeless quality. I have started my own podcast a few weeks ago on risk and uncertainty ( – different, but much inspired by yours.

    It’d be great to hear about how you choose guests and prepare. I typically don’t have a long set of questions and prefer to go with a roadmap for the conversation (but may experiment with the type of quick-fire questions you often do). I’d love to hear how you approach this and anything more on podcasts. Thank you!

  13. Don’t forget to first:

    create a supplement business, travel and get a few accomplishments (like a world record in tango), then write a NY times bestseller and leverage status to network with otherwise hard-to-reach-people. Repeat another two times. Leverage this larger status and platform to start a TV show. Then repeat to start a podcast.

    That’s how you build a #1-Ranked Podcast With 60M+ Downloads.

    1. Oh darn! I forgot to do all of that and have done the same thing as Tim, it just took longer. I guess someone forgot to tell me that it was “impossible” 😉

      Jokes aside, anyone can do this. It’s just a matter of putting in the work. Sometimes it’ll take more work to ramp up because you don’t have the same jumping off point as someone else, and that’s okay.

  14. Not to misquote Billy Idol, but “in the midnight hour Tim, we want more more more.” I like what you’re doing and always take notes/find value in listening.

    And this particular post pushes me off the fence and squarely into the “get off your ass” and get started podcasting camp. I’ve been following along with you, and checked out Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Mark Dawson and others.

    I guess the biggest takeaway from this is: DO THE DAMN THING.

    I also think it’s important that you noted the long tail approach. I see a lot of podcasters (and authors) who are looking for the fast payout and the wham bam. I hate that cause it gives those of us who want to be around awhile another barrier to gain trust. You highlight the way to gain trust is to give away 90% of amazing stuff with practical immediate applications, and keep on producing.

    Another bang up job. Your focus on high performing humans should carry over a little bit into my world of ultrarunning and distance. Scott Jurek, Dean Karnazes may make good guests on your podcast.

    Thanks for what you’re doing. Keep doing it. And do it more. I’d like to see what the next post on podcasting brings.

  15. Hello Tim, what do you do as Automattic’s advisor? You became friends with Matt Mullenweg before or after you became an advisor?

  16. Thank you Tim for all your great content. I enjoy your podcasts very much and I have learned a lot from you and your guests. Keep up the good work.

  17. Great post Tim, an eye opener. I’d definitely like a round two on this. One of the questions I’d like to see answered is how does one get great guests when starting from zero and how do you develop that process.

    Also, it seems that you have a general template as to how you approach an interview and questions. What have you found works best?

    Thanks again, hope to see a second post!

  18. Great post Tim, an eye opener. I’d definitely like a round two on this. One of the questions I’d like to see answered is how does one get great guests when starting from zero and how do you develop that process.

    Also, it seems that you have a general template as to how you approach an interview and questions. What have you found works best?

    Thanks again, hope to see a second post!


  19. Fantastic post, as always, and I particularly loved the balance of not going half-assed into it but also not obsessing over the need for perfection. “If you’re half-assing it and coasting, find something else you can whole-ass.” Great stuff, Tim. Currently devouring the Caroline Paul interview and already bookmarking the Gutsy Girl for my wife and daughters (and maybe even me).

  20. Great post, Tim. I’m affirmed by your exhortation not to be perfect but present. Time to stop sniffing asses and get into the meat on the bone…

  21. Thanks,Tim. Rich with great information, as always. Would love to hear more especially about how you decide what to outsource and how to screen the various services.

  22. Thank you Tim,

    I loved this post 🙂 I thought you recently asked on facebook how you could build your audience by 500K on your podcast. (This is an estimation since I cannot find the actual post… maybe it was taken down). Anyway, I thought a lot of the comments were odd. Most saying “give me action steps” or “give me less sponsors.”

    This post

    – calls us to action and…

    – explains the thoughts behind the sponsors (the managing director letter is awesome 🙂

    much appreciated


    PS: let’s wrestle sometime

    PPS: how did you get to sit next to Gable at the Trials

    PPPS: what did/would you say when/if he asked “what do you do”?

    keep it up! Thank you!

  23. Great article and perfect timing, as I am just getting into podcasting! One area I definitely need to work on is my speaking skills, eg. cutting out the “ums” and “ya knows”. If you have any tips feel free to share. Thanks for being awesome!

  24. Great post! More 🙂 Practical lessons from real life strategies/thinking which can be applied to everywhere in life and business. Ref long term thinking approach (YES) of listeners/promoters etc. Thanks!

  25. Great post, thanks for writing it! As someone who launched a podcast a little over 6 months ago, I would definitely love a follow up post!


  26. Tim, LOVE what you’ve created over the last two years. Honored to have helped and here’s to 1 billion downloads (a number I honestly think you’ll reach before 2020).



  27. I think your managing editor nailed it with how you handle your sponsors. I always listen to the sponsorship advertisements anytime you have a new one up. If I’ve heard it before, I fast forward past it. I have bought from from some of your sponsors based on your ads and some of them I haven’t been personally interested in. But clearly it works as I have bought from some of them before. So I find the advertisements valuable. And since I can fast forward through them it’s not a big deal if I’ve heard them before.

  28. Tim, LOVE the success you’ve had over the last two years and honored to have helped. Here’s to 1 billion downloads (a number I think you’ll reach before 2020).


    ~ JLD

  29. Great post Tim! Seems like I have something new to thank you about every week! I would love to hear more on your podcast experience (ex.: how do you convince all these great guest to take part in interviews). Cheers!

  30. Thanks for this excellent overview of your podcasting journey! As someone who launched a podcast a little over 6 months ago, I would really love seeing a follow up post on this subject! My biggest challenge is in getting interviews set, and would like any helpful hints along those lines, as well as putting together a good list of questions/trying to make the interviews more conversational.

    Thanks again!

  31. Hey Tim, long time fan, first time commenting. I actually read 4 Hour Work Week once a year, lol. I am taking a blogging course, and part of the homework is to make a comment on one of your favorite blogs, and here I am. Just have to say that I love your no BS insight and answers. Also enjoy that you use 80% of the products that you allow to sponsor. Makes everything more legit and less like sales. Keep on doing what you are doing and know that I appreciate all the information you share.

  32. I’ve been following the podcast since day one and I have to say great work! You and the podcast have grown leaps and bounds in both breadth and depth. I am sure I am not the only one who has gained immense actionable knowledge out of your “experiment”.

    Now, in honour of what is still the 12th of April, Cosmonaut’s Day in Russia, I give you a challenge. Bring the ultimate spaceboy, Elon Musk, on the podcast. That will truly take my respect for you to stratospheric heights!

  33. Thanks Tim. I really enjoyed how transparent this post was. Even though I’m not planning on starting a podcast anytime soon, it’s really helpful to see your tactical approaches so I can laterally apply them to a business that I’m building.

    This question applies to podcasting and written word…

    Do you have tangible approaches to how you’ve improved your ability to communicate clearly and effectively? I’ve seen great improvements in your ability to interview and I assume you weren’t ALWAYS a great writer. So wondering what you look for in your approach to improving communication verbally and through text.

    P.S. the fact that you have a managing editor gives me a clue

  34. Loved the content and here is a +1 for follow up posts on podcasts. I have two questions:

    -WHOSE BIO did you record in the airplane bathroom?

    -you mention experiment with the podcast. I’ve done some of this with mine but I also have a very specific demographic. I’m not sure how much I can explore beyond certain topics before I start to lose listeners. In that type is situation would you consider pushing that boundary with the existing podcast or start a new one?

    Lastly-what you mentioned about staying true to yourself is great to hear. I have a small show but I’ve grown my audience by not feeling pressured to do something different because somebody tells me. Thanks for pulling back the curtain on your show to demonstrate that despite the difference in audience size still encounters pressure to not be you.

  35. Thank you for this! Tim, what are your thoughts on the importance of having a theme, or category, when starting a podcast? Can it work to have each episode be different even if you’re starting with zero audience?

  36. The newsletter on podcasting is what I needed. I’ve been debating about starting for so long to start. My one struggle that I’ve had is the idea. I’ve bounced around so many that I’m not sure which ones would be great. I enjoy many subjects and passions, from including being an iOS developer, fitness and entrepreneurship. Any suggestions on how to really hone on which one? Keep the podcast newsletter coming. Just from this one alone, it’s jump starting my excitement to start!

  37. Great content, really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work. Love everything that you put out.

  38. Thanks for everything, Tim. You’ve started a million small fires. The list of people who claim you as an influencer of their success is staggering. I am so grateful that you do what you do, your writing, the podcast, the blog, it’s all so impactful to me and many others. Thank you.

  39. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for sharing – much appreciated. I for one would love a follow-up detailing how you get/approach guests, how much research you do on your questions ahead of your meetings/interviews, how much warm-up you have pre-roll to get your interviewees going/emotionally engaged with you before hitting the record button…. The geeky details of how you automate the process of editing/transcribing/uploading the show (via VAs/real assistants, presumably?) would be very useful information.

    Thanks for your kind attention, and for all the great work you do.

  40. Hey Tim,

    A podcast I co-host currently has a few thousand listeners and 34 of the 35 reviews in iTunes are five stars.

    After a few dozen episodes, it’s now growing as fast and seems to have plateaued.

    Any advice to speed up the amount of downloads? Marketing strategies to expand reach?


  41. I love the podcasting info and can’t wait for more. I’ve been following yours for a while now and the impact has been huge. I’m now a 30g protein breakfast eating, cold shower taking, 4:00 am waking, meditating, Facebook tossing, Dutch oven cooking, squirrel eating, hardship hugging, yes saying, book writing entrepreneur. Life is still crazy, but I sure am enjoying it these days. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    And I just realized I must be a super fanboy.

  42. Tim, your content is covered with the finger prints of the same traits that make many of your guests successful in their unique, and sometimes shared, ways. You make for a great example for those of us wishing to escape the upper middle class. Thank you for reiterating that there is no shortcut to success.

  43. That was worth reading! Thanks for doing such great work! I have listened to most episodes and always come away with a different perspective.

  44. Hi Tim,

    From listening to all of your podcast episodes so far (some twice) it seems like you often spend more than just the interview time with many of your guests, when you do an in person interview anyway. Is this the case? Doe that extra hang out time contribute to better questions/discussions or a better interview flow? Should interviews be a “bam interview done” situation or is it critical to have that extra time with guests before the interview?

  45. Tim- Great post and thank you for sharing your encompassing wisdom. For brevity, what would be your #1 suggestion for podcasting knowing what you know if you were starting over?

    Thank you in advance~


  46. Thank you for this!! It could not have come at a better time for me as I am re-branding my little podcast that has really only lived on my blog and am preparing to launch on iTunes. I LOVE podcasting– it is ridiculously fun for me, and I continue to get very positive feedback on the dozen episodes I have so far. So in answer to your question– more of ALL of it! More on the techie stuff, more on your philosophy, more on how to find/attract the right sponsors (yes, in due time, noted-!) more on whatever you feel is worth sharing. I have been a fan of yours ever since the 4 Hour Workweek came out, and so appreciate your contribution to the lives of so many. You turned me on to The Obstacle is the Way (thank you) and so many other great things. Just– yes– more please, of all of the above. 🙂

  47. 1) What outsourced-service do you use to transcribe podcasts? I was reached out to by a group that offers to do 5/month for $400, which seems WAAYY too expensive.

    2) Can you share your pre-contact email template? (post-contact would be interesting too, but former is key)

    Thanks for continuing to produce a great show — keep it weird!

    (and do more with hipster VC investor friends like Chris Sacca!)

  48. F**k! So much good stuff here, Tim.

    One thing I appreciate is your willingness to dig into the details. Many times I am listening and part of my mind says, “I wonder what they used there?” or some seemingly insignificant detail… and then I will hear you digging in on that very question. Can’t tell you how much I enjoy that.

    I think your genuine curiosity and lack of agenda can be felt by your guests and puts them at ease, but I wonder if you ever had a guest that was simply trying to broadcast a message and not opening up. If so, did you simply decide not to air that episode? And along the same vein, what might you do to break through that facade and get to something genuine?

    Thanks for all that you do.


  49. Thank You yet again Tim! You Rock! So appreciate your you. As an early podcaster I still get patients from around the globe. We are ramping up to try again so this is so timely. Do you have a specific flow of picking your interviewees, formulating your questions (pre-production), actual set up home and on the road? Thank you for doing what you do!

  50. When are you going to interview Neil Gaiman? 🙂

    And…how much time do you spend researching guests?

    (You are very well researched.) Do you have other people doing the initial fact finding for you?

  51. Howdy Tim!

    This point was particularly fascinating:

    4) “Get transcripts and send highlights with pitch ideas to print/text journalists.”

    How does this process work exactly?

    Greetngs from Phuket and happy Songkran (Thai New year)!



  52. Excellent post, thanks Tim! It’s the first one in a while where I read every word – I’d love to hear more on how you get your guests, it’s really interesting to hear the ‘behind the scenes’ of podcasting. You’re an inspiration and motivation!

  53. Is there a cadence you need to keep and grow your audience. For example, one episode a week? Thanks for your 2 cents.

    1. From my research, once a week is ideal. It keeps people interested and looking forward to the next one. If someone posts more than one a week, I usually unsubscribe just to keep so many from loading per week.

  54. Awesome transparency Tim. I’ve been a fan of yours since 4 Hour Work Week, read all of your books and listened to all of your podcasts. I love that this email gives us the overview of how you monetize your work, how it all started and what you focus on. Although you’re making millions, I think you’re still underpaid because your shit is so valuable. Keep up the great work!

  55. Thank you so much for putting this all together, Tim. As podcaster who’s fairly new to the game let me tell you that this is very helpful! I’m curious to hear more about why you decided to host on Libsyn.

  56. Loved it. In particular the way you reference eps, blog posts, your books, conversations, etc, to explain a point, and the ‘closing thoughts’ section. Very transparent, and with the sole intention to be of service. Thank you once again, Tim.

    Loving the ‘Tao of Seneca’ audiobook as well.

  57. Great advice! Would love to hear more – make a podcast about making podcasts 😛 Also – would love to hear more about coming up with your interview questions and getting guests etc.

  58. Hi Tim, thank you for the elaborate email, and the inspiration. I started my own podcast in Belgium and it’s been amazing, sometimes I’d wish having started earlier. Obviously the numbers aren’t as spectacular (I can only dream of 100k downloads per ep, my reach is 17mln Dutch speaking people, max). The best thing is when people genuinely take the time to thank you for your efforts, so, here’s my ‘thank you Tim’.

  59. Hi Tim. Thank you so much – you’re the gift that keeps giving. This look behind the curtains is really great and just corroborates what an awesome guy you are and why your fans are so loyal. Please do keep it up!

    A parting question – will you publish a post on dog training?

  60. Hi Tim

    I like your weekly email stories.

    All you say is great and logical, but how would you do the same, that is get a story out, in the middle of Africa??



    Lusaka, Zambia

  61. Great post and hopefully you will expand more on the things you mentioned you would expand on if there was interest.

    Also, on a separate podcasting note, (I sent you a fb message about this but that might have been THE worst solution ever) I hope you are working on securing Taleb for one (at least) episode. Given how much both of you hate BS and conventional thinking, I believe it would be one of the best non-celebrity episodes. I would be absolutely ecstatic if that happens!!

  62. Hi Tim. Thank you for bringing some the world’s most interesting people right to the “doorstep” of us inspiring whatevers. Great work! I would like to know how would you go about starting your own podcast if you don’t want to be the frontman but would rather take up a producer/creative director role?

    Many thanks


    South Africa

  63. Tim great post, as a new podcaster with only 7 episodes in the bag it’s nice to see something refreshing and telling it like it is.

    I also like how you handle the sponsors, its your show, you do want you want, if the y don’t like it then Fu@k off.

    I will definitely not be having sponsors for at least a year, I wan tot concentrate on podcasting and giving great value to my listeners, they the most important to me.

    Thanks for the post 🙂

  64. Tim, this was the first long form email I’ve ever read completely to the end. I couldn’t put it down once I started. You have the gift of surgical thinking and shit-free explanation. If everyone operated as you do society would be decades ahead of itself in all areas.

    Alright, enough with the flattery. I’m interested in spending some serious time getting involved in live streaming my work (music composition and audio production). I feel like with growing mediums such as Twitch, Ustream and YouTube climbing on this train, I’d love to see an episode or blog or personally addressed email dissecting methods of growing an audience in a livestream setting. And not necessarily with video games, as is the current fuel for that engine.

    Rest assured I will do my own research and apply it the best I can, but I look up to you and would love to see some validation in that approach.



  65. Hi Tim – this is my first time posting in your comments. Your podcasts are amazing and have had a big impact on my life – thank you! I would love to hear more about how you got people on your podcasts when you were first starting out. I would also love to hear more about how you prep for interviews. And I always enjoy hearing about how you started building your network in your early days.

  66. Great post, Tim. I discovered your Podcasts last year, and have since been hooked – I like to listen to episodes whilst I workout or jog, killing two-birds-in-one-stone! I would like to know if you have ever had a guest “bail” on an interview, or interviewed somebody very difficult to open up to you, and if-so, how did you get past that? Thanks for the emails and Podcasts, and keep up the fantastic work!

  67. Yes Tim, More, more, more. I’ve been toying with this idea for so long and everything you’ve written in this post is gold!

  68. Hi Tim, would definitely like to hear more, like do you write your own questions based on what interests you or do you collate then via research of interviewees material, I.e. is it what you want to know or what you think the listener might want to know. I’m fairly new to you (weeks) but I really like your content (4hww, blog, 5 bullet and podcast). I have been thinking about a blog or vlog but hadn’t considered a podcast. Any reason you went audio rather than video? Your interests seem wide and varied, do you rely on friends to put you on to new topics, if not do you have any favorite sources of inspiration?

  69. Thanks for this! All of the numbers are useful – especially how you measure # of downloads (looking at the # 6 weeks out – is that industry standard?) – and focusing on cultivating a loyal audience rather than advertisers is essential. I would love more advice for those of us with smaller audiences on how to continue to cultivate an audience, grow the numbers, spread the word (other than the obvious social media outlets)

    You also go against the grain in a lot of ways – recording intros in noisy airports, having a huge range in your length of podcast, trying out super long episodes, being drunk – how do you measure your audience’s reaction to your experiments? Blog comments? Download #s (or do those stay pretty consistent across episodes?)

    Cheers dear!

  70. So many truths in this article Tim… Podcasting is becoming the fastest growing media channel (24% YOY growth this year according to Edison Research) because it still fulfils one of the most basic human needs – the ability to communicate with another human being. Being in someones ears for 15,20.30 minutes or more creates real connection that other media don’t seem to be able to attain.

    And the beauty of podcasting is that it allows you to be you. Get your thoughts out of your head, into a mic, onto libsyn and onto iTunes and start making a real difference to your listeners with what you have. Entertain, Inform, Educate with your podcast and you’ll start making a difference in no time…!

  71. Love the breakdown and analysis Tim! I’m curious about your workflow and process for creating a podcast episode.

    Once you decide on a person you want to interview and learn from, how do you reach out to them? How do you prepare for your interviews?

  72. Hi Tim:

    Really enjoyed this. Would love to hear more, especially about how you find guests and reach out to them, the preparation/research you do for interviews, any pre interview questions you give to guests, and how you put together show notes and links to those points in the interview.

    Also, I would love to know how we as fans can recommend a guest to you; especially if we want to be able to do it privately rather than posting it to social media. Of course, you may not be interested in suggestions. And if that’s the case, totally understand.

  73. I totally loved reading about podcasting, I’m a YouTuber and I considered adding podcasting in there because I find I’m more relaxed with audio. Not to mention YouTube videos take me forever whereas podcasting it flows and I feel cool. Lol. (I’ve uploaded 4 episodes of a podcast and never added anymore but I did love doing it). I do have a question: do you think podcasting is more effective in the interview style or solo is just as good?

    Thanks for all that you do. Love your stuff!

  74. My God, this was amazingly informative and I’m going to have to read it a few times to really digest it all. I found the Tim Ferriss Podcast through the 4-Hour Workweek and it is what I listen to while I work alone in my antiques warehouse business. It makes some of the lonely tasks more bearable. I really look forward to it every week and listen to each episode several times over.

    Thanks for this interesting post. People like to hide their dollar numbers online. No one talks about money and how much things bring in. My theory is that its because they bring in too little or they don’t want to reveal to their audience the “wizard behind the curtain.”

    I am only a fangirl of you and Steve Pressfield (okay and Tony Robbins, but who doesn’t love that guy?) I would die a happy girl if you could get Pressfield on, maybe go a little deeper than Oprah did.

    Again, thanks for putting this stuff online. You are doing so much good and sometimes its hard to know exactly how many people’s lives you touch. You’ve touched mine.

  75. I think you mean…. Write a fucking book. A fucking book is a different thing. Try saying it out loud. Great work on the podcast, Tim!

  76. Hi Tim, I really enjoy your Podcasts and save them all in a folder. However, I am missing a great podcast of your’s when you mentioned what equipment you purchased to set up your podcast. Could you forward me a link to that particular podcast? I want to start my own podcast and the information you shared was valuable.



    1. Michael, just get an Audio-Technica ATR2100 microphone, plug it into your USB port on the computer and away you go. Use Garageband on Mac or Audacity on Mac or PC to record and edit. Use Audio Hyjack Pro to record over Skype on Mac. Easy!

  77. Tim — I’ve been an ardent follower since the original 4HWW in 2007, but I haven’t commented before. THIS blog post made me comment! Truly excellent stuff that exceeds even your usually excellent standards. 🙂 I, for one, put in a big fat vote for more info… especially landing great guests. Rock on! ~Andrew

  78. Something I’ve been trying to figure out for months now…what is the intro song, or did you have it custom made for the podcast?

  79. Tim,

    In the OC of Calif and trying to get better in every aspect of my life game and wanted to say that you have been an amazing ally in my quest.

    Just like in Plato’s The Republic: Book VII you have thru your insights helped illuminate for me in some very cogent ways on how if I just get after it,stay awake and get out of my own way there can be brilliant illumination of insight.

    Never doubt the value you bring to the table for everyone out there who belong to the awake tribe who are attempting to make sense and thrive in the process of the everyday life puzzle


  80. Heya Tim,

    That was ONE meaty and authentic post. Thanks for taking us inside your podcast model.

    Really enjoyed the encouraging comments of just “starting” and even just for improving your voice ‘tics’

    Love it!

  81. Hey Tim

    You have my HUGE vote for more posts about podcasting. This was super helpful. I just launched a digital marketing podcast almost a month ago, so am working through some of these challenges now.

    How do you feel about individually soliciting reviews from people? I’m going to guess you received your reviews organically?

    I only have 8 reviews while other podcasts launched at the same time as mine have 45+. Yet I know they are hitting people up one by one and asking for the review. I am not.

    I know reviews help you rank better in iTunes, but I’d prefer to receive mine organically – am I (or other podcasters) sabotaging ourselves for not being more direct about this?

    I feel like the best quality show should win in the long run – but the world does not always work in such an ‘idealogical’ way 🙂

    How would you do it, if you didn’t already have an existing audience?


  82. Hi Tim, thanks for the post. I’d definitely love to read more about how you get guests on your podcast. I have pretty much the same questions as Felipe Moitta in the comments. I’m also curious to know if your method for getting podcast guests can work for getting people to feature in blog posts? Thank you.

  83. Tim, this post is another reason why I’m one of your avid fans. You manage to make everything fun and you provide all the basics in bite-size chunks. Thanks.

  84. Hey Tim, thanks for the detailed post! You were definitely an inspiration for the podcast I started 6 months ago (after 4 years of chewing on the idea and building skills).

    One more data point for folks: It definitely does require patience. I’m 20 episodes in, and merely have 50,000 downloads. That would probably thrill most podcasters, but I AM a best-selling author (hit top 20 on all of Amazon), and already had an email list of 35k (& ~18k Twitter followers) when I started.

    One question: is your discouragement of attracting sponsors simply because it will distract yourself, or is it only because signing up sponsors early will hurt long-term potential? I’ve found it very easy to simply make affiliate link redirects for products I like (such as Audible or Treehouse) and include short messages on those, since I don’t have the listenership to sign up dedicated sponsors just yet. It helps cover costs and the ridiculous amount of time making a quality podcast takes.

  85. Thank you for these points, it is one of the most useful blogs I have read in a long time (and I am not in the podcast game). I am from and live in Colombia, and you can’t imagine the lack of information we would have if it weren’t for this type of blogs/podcasts. I would love to improve my asking skills because I work in sales, and asking the right question is more important than having the better product, besides it would improve my relationship with the customers, and this applies to almost any job. Thank you

  86. Thanks for paying it forward! Of all the podcasts I follow, your podcast is the one I’m most excited to listen to whenever I see a push notification that a new episode is available.

    Please, please, please share more on this topic! Here are a few of my questions:

    1. When you are in the same room with a guest (i.e. at your home (Caroline Paul) or at their home (Josh Waitzkin)) do you use one shared mic, or do each of you have a mic?

    2. When you started and did Skype interviews, did you ask your guests to record audio on their end as well, or did you just record the audio on your end through Skype?

    3. Do you send guests questions or general topic areas in advance that you will ask/discuss so that they can prepare/think about their answers beforehand?

    4. On most of your interviews that are not in person (Skype/etc.), you mention during the interview that you were speaking on the phone before you started the recorded conversation. Can you talk about this pre-interview call? What is your goal/objective with this call?

    5. I love the long-form discussions. It makes the interview feel natural and authentic. How much time do you ask of your guests when you ask them for an interview?

    Thanks, Tim!

  87. Tim, where can I send you details about my third (worldwide applicable) business idea (app)? I want you to develop/benefit 100% (truly). I believe they are a good idea to implement and also people can benefit from them (well, truth is I have 2 app ideas, not only one) ;-). Just want to give them to you, so you can do the best with them. If work, then we talk. THANK YOU!

  88. After reading this. All comes down to…

    Success comes from patience and hard work spiced up with talent.