Tribe Podcast Transcripts: Sarah St John – Online business on a budget

Tribe Podcast Transcripts: Sarah St John – Online business on a budget

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Sarah St John (@sarahstjohn) She 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.


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Miko Santos [00:01:05] Please welcome Sarah St John  Welcome to the show. Tribe Podcast

Sarah St. John [00:01:10] Well, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Miko Santos [00:01:13] Because of the pandemic right now. How did you start that? You’re entreprenuer your journey. Is that a good idea? Then I’m going to start it up.

Sarah St. John [00:01:23] Well, actually, it started back in Oades like twelve 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 and whatnot.

[00:01:46] But I started a photography business in 08 and realized that while I like 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 upkeep, you know, camera equipment and lighting and all of that. So I decided to switch to an online business.

[00:02:12] 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 a business on a budget. And so then I got the idea to write a book called Frugalprenuer, where I kind of talk about all the different ways to make money online and and what kind of tools and resources and software to use to to make that happen affordably. And then while I was writing the book, I got the idea to start a podcast also called For Hoppner to coincide with the book. But it was just going to be, you know, ten episodes or something, just a short lived thing.

[00:02:56] But I was getting more traction and leverage with 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  I was editing and producing my own podcast and I enjoyed that and felt like I was doing a good job with that, that. Then I launched Podseam the podcast production agency. And so now I’m like all in on everything, podcasting.

Miko Santos [00:03:42]  Especially during this pandemic right now and  a lot of people are trying to get their online business to say, is that possible to start an online business with just five dollars?

Sarah St. John [00:03:57] Yeah, so there’s several different types of online business models.

[00:04:02] So it depends on which area you go into as far as far as like specifics. But every business should start out with a website. A lot of people think that, well, social media is enough or if they just have a Facebook page.

[00:04:17] 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 in the email them. And you never know when a social network could just go away the next day.

[00:04:41] I mean, you never happen to MySpace. 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 in one dotcom. 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 three dollars a month, depending on what host you pick. And then you could create a free logo and and canvas or hire someone on fiber and to make one for five dollars.

[00:05:17] 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 ones 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 YouTube or is send Fox and it’s free up to the first three thousand subscribers.

[00:05:49] But what I like about it is that you can put in like your YouTube link or your blog or 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 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 three dollars and then you could create a free logo and then start a free email. 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 plug in and things like that. But yeah, that’s how you can get started really affordably.

Miko Santos [00:06:47] So you keep saying about the newsletter, so how important is the newsletter in an online business or any business?

Sarah St. John [00:06:57] I think I would say to not do it any more than once a week because you don’t want to burn out your list. And so and some people only do it like once a month. But I think it’s good if you have especially if you have like a blog or a podcast or YouTube, because then you can send out your latest episode or your latest video or your latest blog post.

[00:07:24] And it keeps people updated because people might not be subscribe to it or they might. I don’t know, 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 it 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 to do.

Miko Santos [00:07:53] All right, so let’s go back to your Frugalpreneur. I guess so can you give us an overview of your podcast and the advice during a typical episode?

Sarah St. John [00:08:06] Mm hmm. Sure. Yeah. So it’s called Frugal Producer, 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 expertize.

[00:08:26] And then like I’ve interviewed Matt McWilliams, he’s the affiliate guy. I’ve interviewed Mike Morrison, who’s the membership guy like different people, Nick Lowe of sidehusstle nation, different people that have different nations and get their expertize. And then sometimes I’ll have solo episodes where I’ll talk about a particular, like software that I recommend.

[00:08:49] And like 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 [00:09:50] So could you give us at least two or three biggest impact on your business because of your podcasts?

Sarah St. John [00:10:00] Oh, I would say, first of all, I 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. That’s my niche. Say I want to interview someone or just get their opinion or advice on something. Talk to them. If I were to contact them via email or email or phone and say, hey, can I have an hour of your time, I just want to ask you a few questions and talk to one of three things would happen.

[00:10:33] 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 going to get some no’s and no responses, but you’re much more likely to get to talk to people that you know you want to talk to.

[00:10:56] And then it’s almost kind of like a free one on one consultation because 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, like, 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.

[00:11:25] You never know who 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 podcast directories are like search engines, basically. And actually Google now transcribes podcasts automatically. So like, if you were to search something and Google and it’s related to maybe a podcast episode, it might actually show up in search results now.

[00:11:58] And so, yes, just the 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 and, you know, people finding it because, well, first of all, there’s 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 [00:12:29] So why do you think podcasting is the new blogging

Sarah St. John [00:12:44] 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 podcast, I think one point six million, which actually last year there was only eight hundred thousand. 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, six hundred times more likely to be found with your podcasts than a blog, because it’s just not nearly as crowded, but also like what you hear so far.

[00:13:38] 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.

[00:13:56] 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.

[00:14:29] I’m going to 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 going to need a podcast to like. I think Wendy’s even has a podcast like all kinds of people are podcast 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 the new I think it’s just going to continue to gain popularity.

Miko Santos [00:15:12] Why? Every  business owner or another venue needs to leverage to have a podcast. ?

Sarah St. John [00:15:24] 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 in your space and then even get clients out of that. And then the exposure, too, because if you just have a business and you have a Web presence in 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.

[00:15:55] Plus, they get to know, like and trust you after, you know, they listen to you day in and day out or week in 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.

[00:16:20] You’re I think you’re more likely to close that sale because they already have. They already it’s almost like they’ve already been kind of sold on you. 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 [00:16:42] So what do you think the future of podcasting is? Some. Company like Spotify get them buying a different but podcast host, I think, have the building there, they’re strong, they’re present on podcast. So what do you think is the future of podcasting?

Sarah St. John [00:17:01] Well, I mean, just in the past year or so, it’s gone. I think it was in 2019. It was there were eight hundred thousand podcasts. And now in twenty twenty a year later, there’s double that. And if podcasting started, like in 2004, those 15 years to get to eight hundred thousand 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.

[00:17:30] 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 feel 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.

[00:18:00] So, yeah, I think the future is I think it’s just going to continue to grow. And like you said, Spotify in particular  is throwing a lot of money into podcasting with like Joe Rogan and the hundred million dollar deal. And plus they’re buying different apps, like you said, like anchor and a bunch of others. And then there’s 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.

Miko Santos [00:18:46] So for our  audienceif  they  want to start a their own podcastt, is it easy or do I need someone to help them?

Sarah St. John [00:19:04] Yeah, it is easy, you can I mean, technically, you could start for free by going through, like, ankle 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 under hundred. It’s like my thing, but I got a twenty one hundred mic which was like sixty dollars. And then I use Sprink initially as my podcast host, which was free up to a certain point, and then it was like seven dollars a month. But yeah.

[00:19:37] So it’s, it’s very affordable to get into it as long as you already have a computer which most people do really. I mean you just need a mike 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’s like 20 different ones, probably. So, yeah, it’s easy in that regard. Of course, a lot of people get stressed out with the editing part of it and the producing and repurposing and putting it on social media and show notes and 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 some notes with it and whatnot.

[00:20:29] So 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 post, 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 could either not do any of that stuff because you don’t technically have 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.

[00:21:22] The show knows the images, the audio games, 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 like descript where you can upload the file and it transcribes it for you and you can edit it with the transcript. That’s really convenient and that’s pretty affordable. It’s like fifteen a month and then there’s like Aletta which makes editing and whatnot really easy. That’s I think twenty eight a month. So there’s different ways to produce your own show affordably. It’s just time consuming.

Miko Santos [00:22:04] All right, thank you for that,  Why do you think it’s very important for a business or entrepreneurs or anyone that the leverage of the podcast guesting  so that they can grow their audience? Why? It’s very important if you want. Do to grow your business. ?

Sarah St. John [00:22:29] 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.

[00:22:45] Obviously, if you’re on the show, you are within the same kind of niche that they’re in. And so 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.

[00:23:03] So the chances that they’re going to go over unless, you know, check out your podcast are a lot greater than like doing a Facebook ad about your podcast. 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 there, you know, podcast app.

[00:23:23] So I think yeah. So if you have your own podcast going on other shows is 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 to 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 [00:24:16] OK, do you have any final advice? Especially I think because you have your podcast management service. And I think because of the podcast, keep on growing right now, almost a million something . if our listener is trying to wanted to have their own Podcast Mangement Agency . What is your advice to them if they want to go ahead with that type of a business?

Sarah St. John [00:24:56]  Yeah, that is a because I’ve covered I covered it the topic of podcasting and some of my books, but not really podcast producing like starting your own agency. There is a place called Podcast Production School. I actually have a review on my website of it and that’s pretty good. A good way to learn like how to, you know, start a production agency basically and how to edit.

[00:25:28] Let’s see. And that’s that blog post that’s actually not on my personal site. That’s on my podcast resource directory. Dotcom 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 as 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 kind of online education courses and schools that teach you like how to edit and produce and start a production agency. So that might be a good place to to look into.

Miko Santos [00:26:13] Thank you. Any parting words to our audience, listening and watching right now?

Sarah St. John [00:26:19] Yeah, so there’s a few different things that I’ve learned throughout my entrepreneurial journey that I would warn others about is one shiny object syndrome. Try to avoid that, because I definitely experience that for like a decade trying these different things.

[00:26:40] It’s like and 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. You’re like, oh, let me check that out or sort that out. But yeah, then you get sidetracked. And yeah. So I would recommend of trying to avoid that.

[00:26:59] 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 where for every hour it’s been learning, I try to spend another hour implementing.

[00:27:17] 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 whatnot, I have three books that I give away for free. The PDF version that are at the Sarasate John dot com forward slash free and that’s thp srh s-t JH and dot com forward slash free.

Miko Santos [00:27:44] All right. Thank you so much for your time. All the links will be in 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.

Sarah St. John [00:28:04] Sure. Yeah, well, you can reach me directly on my website, or on social media. I’m basically the Sarah St John on all the platforms.

Miko Santos [00:28:15] All right. Thank you so much. So thank you. This is another episode of the Tribe podcast under Oxblood Syndicate. And this is brought to you by the Kangaroofern Media Lab Agency, a podcast management agency.

[00:28:28] Thank you so much. See you next week for another episode.  

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