Tribe Podcast Transcript: Sarah St John – Online business on a Budget

Tribe Podcast Transcript: Sarah St John – Online business on a Budget

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Sarah St john (@thesarahstjohn) is an entrepreneur, podcaster, online course creator, and author. She has created several startups throughout her entrepreneurial career of over a decade.

She currently owns a podcast production agency called PodSeam. She is also the podcast host of “Frugalpreneur: Building a Business on a Bootstrapped Budget” which aims to show people how to launch and manage an online business on a budget.

Transcripts may contain a few typos.


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Miko Santos : Sarah St John is an entrepreneur, podcaster, online course creator, and author. She has created several startups throughout her entrepreneurial career of over a decade.

She currently owns a podcast production agency called PodSeam. She is also the podcast host of “Frugalpreneur: Building a Business on a Bootstrapped Budget” which aims to show people how to launch and manage an online business on a budget. Please welcome Sarah St. John. Welcome to the show.

Sarah St John: Well, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Miko Santos: How did you start that your entrepreneurial journey is that I’ve got an idea, then I’m going to start it up.

Sarah St. John: Well, actually it started back in Oh eight, so like 12 years ago, I had had six different jobs that year, not at the same time, but throughout the course of the year and realized that I wanted to work for myself and be my own boss.

And I think I had had an entrepreneurial bug my entire life, you know Like I would get free candy and pencils and sell them to friends but I started a photography business and realized that while I liked taking photos of animals and architecture and landscapes, I didn’t like taking photos of people, but that’s where the money is.

I was doing, weddings and portraits, but the bigger issue than that was just the expense to maintain and to keep. You know, camera equipment and lighting and all of that. So I decided to switch to an online business. And so I tried several different things like drop shipping, affiliate, marketing, blogging, all kinds of stuff.

And it was through that process that I discovered all these free or really affordable tools and resources to use to manage them. Business on a budget. And so then I got the idea to write a book called frugalpreneur where I kind of talked about all the different ways to make money online and yeah.

And what kind of tools and resources and software to use, to make that. Happen, affordably. And then while I was writing the book, I got the idea to start a podcast, also called frugalprenuer to coincide with the book, but it was just, it’s going to be, you know, 10 episodes or something, just a short-lived thing, but I was getting more traction and leverage with them.

The podcast than the book even. So, I decided to keep up with the podcast and have enjoyed all the connections that I’ve made. And, and I was editing and producing my own podcasts and I enjoyed that and felt like I was doing a good job with that, that then I launched pod seam, the podcast production agency. And,  so now I’m like all in on everything.

Miko Santos : During this pandemic right now. and A lot of people are trying to get into online business .I s that possible to start an online business with just $5?

Sarah St John: Yeah. So, there are several different types of online business models. So it depends on which area you go into as far as specifics, but every business should start out with, a website.

A lot of people think that will. Social media is enough, or if they just have a Facebook page, but the problem is, and you should be on social media. But the problem with only being on social media is that algorithms change hardly. Anyone sees your posts without having to pay to boost it. You don’t get access to their email addresses to, to market, to them and email them.

And you never know when a social network could just. Go away the next day. I mean, you never, it happened to my space. So having a website is important and then which, so you need a domain for that and you can get one for a dollar at one-on-one dot com. That’s actually where I get all my domains and then.

 if you use WordPress, that’s actually free,  except for hosting, which can be as little as $3 a month, depending on what host you pick.  and then you could create a free logo in and Canva or hire someone on Fiverr to make one for $5. And then I recommend starting an email list right away,  to capture leads and whatnot.

And there’s a few different ones that offer a free plan up to a certain number of subscribers. And the one that I use now that I really like. That I think is especially good for content creators. you know, so if you’re a podcast or a blogger or youtuber is Sendfox and it’s free up to the first 3000 subscribers.

But what I like about it is that you can put in like your YouTube link or your blog or a podcast RSS feed, and it’ll automatically generate newsletters every week. Like whenever you publish a new episode and whatnot and send it out automatically to your list. So it saves a lot of time. so I would say to start a business, you know, with five bucks, it would basically be to get a domain for, you know, a dollar,  WordPress, and then you have to get hosting, which is, well, it depends on who you go with, but it could be as low as $3 and then you could create a free logo.

 And then start a free email list. So no matter what area of online business you go into, I think that those are the basics to get started. And then of course, depending on if you’re going into drop shipping, then you might need an extra plugin and things like that. But yeah, that’s how you can get started really affordably.

Miko Santos: So you keep saying about the newsletter. So how important is the newsletter , in an online business or any business?

Sarah St John: I think I would say to not do it any more than once a week, cause you don’t want to burn out your list. and some people only do it like once a month.  but. I think it’s good if you have, especially if you have a blog or a podcast or YouTube because then you can send out your latest episode or your latest video or your latest blog posts.

And it keeps people updated because people might not be subscribed to it, or they might. I dunno, it’s just an extra way of getting them, seeing your content. And then obviously if you have any kind of announcements or things along that nature,  then you could send out separate emails or include in your newsletter.

But yeah, I definitely think having an email list and,  emailing at least once a week in some way, shape or form is important.

Miko Santos: All right. So let’s go back to your, podcasts. So can you give us an overview of your podcasts and the advice during a typical episode?

Sarah St. John : Sure. Yeah. So it’s called Frugalpreneur, building a business on a bootstrap budget and it’s basically, I cover the different types of online business models.

 I usually interview someone who is in that area.  get their expertise and then like I’ve interviewed Matt, Matt McWilliams. He’s the affiliate guy I’ve interviewed Mike Morrison. Who’s the membership guy,  like different people. Nick Loper was side hustle, nation, different people that have different niches and,  get their expertise.

And then sometimes I’ll have solo episodes where I’ll talk about a particular like software, right. That I recommend. And like, for example, I did an episode about Sendfox and then the first several episodes I did, I was interviewing like the CEOs or someone who works in the company for the different software programs that I recommend and kind of, they kind of give an overview of it and why it’s beneficial and helpful for entrepreneurs.

And,  so basically just kind of covering different. Topics as far as what types of online businesses, how to run them,  any kind of tips and tricks along the way, things like that.

Miko Santos: So can you give us at least two or three biggest impacts On your business because of your podcasts.

Sarah St John:  I would say first of all would be the connections I’ve been able to make because the thing with podcasting it’s like,  so say that you want to talk to someone in your niche. So I’ll say entrepreneurship cause that’s my niche.

Say I wanted to interview someone or just get their opinion or advice on something. Talk to them. If I were to contact them via mail or email or phone and say, Hey, can I have an hour of your time? I just wanted to ask you a few questions and talk to you. One of three things would happen. They would either say, no, they wouldn’t respond.

Or they would say yes, but it’ll cost you X amount of dollars, but if you have a podcast and you say, Hey, can you come on my show?  you’re still gonna get some nos and no responses, but you’re much more likely to get to talk to people that, you know, you want to talk to. And then it’s almost kind of like a free one-on-one consultation.

Cause you can learn from them and all of that. And then they might know someone and it kind of snowballs. So just the connections I’ve been able to make, and then you can even get clients that way, depending on what you do.  you know, like, like for example, you know, I have the podcast production agency.

Maybe I have someone on my show or I go on their show and maybe they don’t have someone yet. And they’re looking into that, you know, things like that. You, you never know who, um, what kind of connections you can make. So I would say that that’s a big thing. , I would say another thing is like just the exposure, because podcasts directories are like search engines basically, and actually Google now,  transcribes podcasts automatically.

So like, if you were to search something in Google and it’s related to maybe a podcast episode, it might actually show up in search results now.  and yeah. Yes. Just then, the exposure I think is a lot. I think for me, I feel like it’s a lot easier than like say having a blog or something. Um, and. You know, people finding it because, well, first of all, there are so many more blogs and podcasts, but, so I would say those are a couple of the things is just the connections. And along with the connections, also the possibility of getting clients and then the exposure as well.

Miko Santos : So why do you think podcasting is the new blogging or the website?

Sarah St John: Yeah. So I believe it was Seth Godin who said that, that, podcasting is the new blogging. And last I checked back in October, there was over a million podcasts, like I think 1.6 [00:13:00] million, which actually last year there was only 800,000. So it doubled in a year, even though podcasting has been around since 2004, I think.  but. There’s like 600 million blogs last I checked. So you’re still like four or five, 600 times more likely to be found with your podcast than a blog, because it’s just not nearly as crowded.

The nice thing about podcasts are that people can. Multitask, like they could be driving to work or they could be doing the dishes or any number of things and listen to your podcast and they could easily get through an hour long show.

 Whereas if they were reading a blog or a book or a YouTube video, I mean, all of those things involve their eyes. And so it’s dedicated attention and. , the likelihood that you’ll be able to, to keep their attention for an hour or whatever, with as busy as people are isn’t too likely. So I think just the ability for people to multitask and take in podcasts that audio in general, even audio books that that’s like gonna be the new thing basically.

And then as far as them being like the new website, I mean, you should still have a website, but. You know, it’s just like everyone, every business needs a website. It’s kind of like, I think it’s getting to the point where every business is gonna need a podcast too. Like, I think Wendy’s even has a podcast, like all kinds of people have podcasts now that you wouldn’t have thought of.

But it’s kind of like the new normal, I guess, is, you know, have you heard that podcast or, yeah, I was listening on that podcast the other day. Or what’s your podcast, you know, like it’s new, I think it’s just going to continue to gain popularity.

Miko Santos : Why every business owner or entrepreneur needs to leverage to have a podcast.

Miko Santos: Yeah, I think it’s important because, well, probably because of like what I said earlier about the connections, like being able to connect with people, um, In your space and then even get clients out of that. And then the exposure to, um, because if you just have a business and you have a web presence and social media, but you don’t have a podcast, podcasting is just one more way.

I think for people to find you and discover you, plus they get to know like and trust you after, you know, they listen to you day in, day out or weekend and week out, I guess. , And it’s more of an intimate type of thing because they’re hearing your voice versus just reading your words. and so like say you have a podcast listener and.

Maybe you get on a sales call with them. You’re I think you’re more likely to, to close that sale because they already have, they already, it’s almost like they’ve already been kind of sold on you. They, they know like, and trust you. It’s not like some complete stranger or voice you’ve never heard comes on the phone, you know? So yeah, I definitely think every business practically should have a podcast.

Miko Santos : So, what do you think about the future of podcasting?

Sarah St John: Oh, well, I mean, just in the past year,  so it’s gone. I think it was in 2019, it was, there were 800,000 podcasts. And now in 2020, a year later, there are double that. And. If podcasting started in 2004. So that was 15 years to get to 800,000 podcasts and then it doubled in one year.  I think it’s just going to continue to grow and it’s almost, I think, going to be an expectation for businesses, at least, and a lot of people have podcasts that don’t have a business, they just do it for fun.

To talk about whatever topic it might be. And it’s just, I feel like it’s going to get to the point where not only every business but even. Almost every individual is going to fill the need to have a podcast,  to express themselves. And there’s a niche for everything. I mean, even the most bizarre podcasts could probably get a few listeners.

So,  yeah, I think the future is, I think it’s just going to continue to grow. And like you said, Spotify in particular They throwing a lot of money in the podcasting with Joe Rogan and the hundred million dollar deal.

And plus they’re buying different apps. Like you said, like an anchor and. A bunch of others. And then there are some other companies that are getting, throwing a lot of money into it as well. So it’s just going to get bigger and bigger for at least a certain audience as well

Miko Santos: Let says a entrepreneur wanted to start his/her own Podcast Show? Is that easy? Or do I need someone to help them? 

Sarah St John: yeah, it is easy. You can, I mean, technically you could start for free,  by going through like an anchor or something and using your phone with some ear pods, but I personally recommend,  You know, I started my podcast for under a hundred dollars. I tried to do everything for a hundred, a hundred.

It’s like my thing.  but I got an ATR 2100 Mice, which was like $60.  and then I used Spreaker initially as my podcast hosts, which was free up to a certain point. And then it was like $7 a month.  But, yeah, so it, it’s, it’s very affordable to get into it. As long as you already have a computer, which most people do.

Yeah. Really, I mean, you just need a mic for the most part, and then you need a podcast host. There has to be a place to host your files and then they distribute those files to the different podcast directories like Apple, Google, Spotify. There are like 20 different ones probably.  so yeah, it’s easy in that regard.

 Of course, a lot of people get. I stressed out with the editing part of it and the producing and repurposing and putting it on social media and show notes. And of course, you don’t actually have to do all that stuff. You could just record and then upload it. And that’s the end of it. 

But usually, people like to. Edit it,  clean it up and things like that, and create,  you know, some show notes with it and why not.  so that, that’s what my company does is basically someone will just record their episode and send it to us. And then. We edit it, produce it. We create audiogram, show notes,  blog posts,  social media images, all that stuff.

So it kind of depends on someone’s budget. Like if they’re totally bootstrapped and have no budget at all, they get either not do any of that stuff. Cause you don’t technically have [00:21:00] to.  even though it’s kind of. Usually recommended and expected, but,  but you could do it all yourself,  or, you know, outsource it if you do have the budget for it.

And that saves a lot of time because basically for every hour spent recording, it takes maybe another four to five to do like editing production, the show notes, the images, the audio grams, all that stuff.  so yeah, I can get really time-consuming but,  and there’s some free things online. You can like record and edit into audacity.

 And then I really liked descript where you can upload the file and it transcribes it for you and you can edit it via the transcript that’s really convenient and that’s pretty affordable. It’s like 15 a month. And then there’s like Allah too, which makes editing and whatnot really easy. That’s I think $28 a month. So there are different ways to, you know, produce your own show affordably. It’s just, time-consuming

Miko Santos: All right. Thank you for that. So what, why do you think why is very important for a business owner or entrepreneurs or anyone that the leverage of the podcast guesting, so that they can grow their audience?

Sarah St John: Yeah. So some people. If they already have a podcast, they’re kind of like, well, why would I need to be a guest on other shows? And I think it’s important to be a guest on other shows, whether you already have a podcast or not because you’re reaching that person’s audience.

 Obviously, if you’re on the show, you are within the same kind of niche that they’re in. And so it’s, it’s a more targeted audience.  And if the person, like if you have a podcast and then you go on someone else’s show, obviously their listeners are already listening to a podcast. So the chances that they’re gonna go over and listen, you know, check out your podcasts are a lot greater than like doing a Facebook ad about your podcasts.

It’s not too likely that someone’s gonna be scrolling Facebook, see an ad about a podcast and then be like, Oh yeah, let me check that out and go to their, you know, podcast app. So. I think,  yeah. So if you have your own podcast going on, other shows as good, because you’re leveraging that audience and they might come check out your show and you can grow your show that way.

But even if you don’t have your own podcast, it’s good to go on other shows kind of, for the same reason to. To leverage that audience too, because you might have some kind of product or service, you know, that you wanting to promote that that audience might be interested in. And then, you know, grow your business that way.

Miko Santos : . Do you have any final advice, especially If someone want to set up a business like yours a podcast management service.

Sarah St John :  There is a place called podcast production school. I actually have a,  a review on my website of it.  and that’s pretty good. Oh, good way to learn, like how to,  You know, start a production agency basically, and how to edit.

You can check my podcast resource is a website I created that lists different resources for someone looking to start a podcast.  and right now I think that’s the only blog post I have up there right now is my review of the podcast production school.

I think there might be a handful of different others like podcasts engineering school, I think is one.  but yeah, different kinds of, online education courses and schools that teach you how to edit and produce and start a production agency. So that might be a good place to look into.

Miko Santos : Thank you. Any parting words to our audience listener and watching right now? 

Sarah St John : yeah, so there’s a few different things that I’ve learned throughout my entrepreneurial journey,  that I would, you know, warn others about is one. Shiny object syndrome, try to avoid that. Cause I definitely experienced that for like a decade trying these different things.

It’s like, I think that’s part of being an entrepreneur is you think of, you’re always thinking of new ideas and so you might be working on something and then you think of something else. And you’re like, Oh, let me check that out or start that out. But yeah, then you get sidetracked, and yeah. So I would recommend trying to avoid that.

Another thing would be. In the beginning, it’s important to learn and you should continue to learn throughout your entrepreneurial journey, but at a certain point, if you don’t ever implement what you’re learning, it’s kind of pointless. So I am at the point now, or for every hour I spend learning, I try to spend another hour implementing.

So I would say those are like the two main, quick takeaways.  and then yeah, if people are interested in learning more about Me and the things that I offer and what not.  I have three books that I give away for free the PDF version, which are at the

Miko Santos : All right. Thank you so much for your time. So to all our listeners, so please check the show notes. So all the links will be on the show notes. And if, if someone wanted to have a chat with you and also want to contact you how they can reach you. Sure.

Sarah St john : Yeah.  well, you can reach me directly on my website, the and on social media. I’m basically the Sarah St. John on all the platforms.

Miko Santos : All right. Thank you so much. So thank you. This is another episode of the tribe podcast under all sports syndicate. And this is brought to you by the kangarooFern Media Lab a podcast management agency. Thank you so much.

See you next week for another episode. Thank you. Thank you for your time. For another episode of tribe podcast under Auspodsyndicate, Thank you to our sponsor kangaroofern Media Lab., a podcast management service, you can check them at and also if you want to join our community. So follow us on Facebook at Rebound Australia.

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