July 2, 2021

Monetizing the Podcast - Calculating How Many Listeners/Fans I Need

One of my long term goals for the podcast is to monetize it.  As I'm sure this is of interest to pretty much all creators who are considering how to monetize their work, I thought I would make my goals, assumptions, costs, and calculations public.

First, my assumptions.

  1. Most online discussions assume that somewhere from 0.1 to 2% of your fans will take action and subscribe to an Patreon or such.
  2. Whatever platform you use will take 8-20% off the top, depending on platform and tier chosen.
  3. Taxes will account for 40% of whatever comes in if I declare it (and I plan on doing so).  
    1. Yea, this is going to be lower for the lower subscriber counts, and may be higher if things go nuts, but I would rather overestimate taxes and end up with more money than I expected.
    2. This includes the self employment tax rate.  
  4. Combining what the platform takes and taxes, my expected take home is 48% (40% of 80%), so I will round to 50% for ease of calculation, especially since my tax estimate is likely high.

Second, my costs for running the podcast currently are fairly minimal.

  1. Current costs: $350 per month
    1. Interview honorarium - $200 budgeted per month
    2. Infrastructure hosting for webpage, podcast host, etc - $50 per month
    3. Equipment - Microphones, digital recorder, shotgun mics - $1200 per year/$100 per month
  2. Cost per content shoot: $50 - 5,000+
    1. Strongly depends on content of the shoot and location fees
    2. Model fees HIGHLY vary
      1. Art Nude in nature - $100 - 400
      2. Softcore erotic shoot - $200 - 500
      3. Fetish shoot - $200 - 600
      4. Hardcore erotic shoot - $600 - 4,000+
      5. Remote video session/podcast - $50 - 200
    3. Stylist fees - $50 - 200 per shoot
    4. Location rental - $100 - 500+

Third, my goals for monetizing the podcast.  I am offering a range of goals, from covering the costs of the podcast to making a living off of content creation.  One thing to remember about these numbers is that while the first two are meant to be revenue neutral (profits - costs = $0), the second two are meant to be profitable so I could live off of them.

  1. Cover the cost of the podcast ($350 per month) - Two interviews per month, hosting costs, equipment costs
  2. Cover the cost of the podcast and my hobby ($750 per month) - All of the above, plus one shoot per month, equipment upgrades over time
  3. Side Gig status ($2,500 per month) - All of the above, plus multiple shoots per month for content, location rental/fees, stylist(s), props, video equipment, enough for weekly content drops.
  4. Full time job ($15,000 per month) - All of the above, turn this into a full time job with multiple content drops per week.

So, time for some math.  I am going to assume that 0.1% to 2% of my listeners/fans will subscribe to my bimonthly or weekly content releases (of which I will have another blog post on what form those content releases could be).  Additionally, I will assume a monthly subscription fee of $5.  My plan with Patreon is to offer at least two tiers at $2 and $10, so this is a nice number in the middle.

If I have:

  • 100 listeners to the podcast, I may have 0-2 subscriber
    • At $5 per subscriber, I may net $0-$5 per month.
  • 1,000 listeners to the podcast, I may have 1-20 subscribers.
    • ... I may net $2.50-50 per month.
  • 10,000 listeners to the podcast, I will have 10-200 subscribers.
    • ... I will net $25-500 per month.
  • 100,000 listeners to the podcast, I will have 100-2,000 subscribers.
    • ... I will net $250-5,000 per month.

And to get the answers I need, let's figure out how many subscribers and listeners I need for each of my goals:

  1. Cover the cost of the podcast - 14k fans, 140 Subscribers at 1% subscribers
  2. Cover the cost of the podcast and hobby - 30k fans, 300 subscribers
  3. Side gig status - 100k fans, 1,000 subscribers
  4. Full time work - 600k listeners, 6k subscribers

Well, this is a niche podcast.  It's pretty unlikely to hit half a million subscribers, but it looks like covering the cost of the podcast might be doable, and might even cover the cost of the hobby and equipment upgrades over time.