Starting a Podcast 101: Free Tools, Checklist, Sample Questions & Timeline

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In the Fall of 2018, I recorded my very first podcast. It was energizing. The guest had a great time, the recording went without major issues, and I had the microphones backward.


(Turns out, I had the mics the wrong way for about four months before I realized it. Thank you, Nico, for helping me out).


The plan was to get everything ready by the end of '18 to launch in January of '19. Part of that process was reaching out to trusted folks to get a feel of what they thought about a leadership podcast.

When I began polling some of my friends to see what they thought about our idea, the responses were helpful and funny.


The best one was from my good friend Ashley. The entirety of her message read:

“Podcasts are this generation's lower back tattoo.”

I knew we were on our way after getting that hilarious response.


We now have over 100 podcast episodes published and streamed in over 35 countries.

What the what?! Not too shabby for a guy who didn’t notice the word ‘Back’ was facing forward on the mic for several months.


If you’re looking to start a podcast, I want to help. What I have listed below isn’t exhaustive, but it could help save money and time, which both carry significant value.


Helpful articles: (this was the most useful blog for me)



Audacity & Anchor are the 2 things I started with, there’s so many options

Audacity, recording/editing.  Anchor, distributing.


*We currently use Zencastr for virtual podcast interviews, Blubrry for distribution and detailed stats, Wordpress for our podcast website/landing pages, and Audition for in-person interviews.*    


Anchor tutorial


Royalty-Free Music:


Questions & Phrasing:

Tim Ferriss’ Suggestions

Tell us about ____

What don’t we understand about_____

Who or what has influenced you the most in ____

Give us a working definition of ____

What was it that sparked the _____

What resources have been most impactful ______

How do you view the role of ______

One of my favorites: What surprised you most about _____


Helpful checklist I used (physical copy in front of me early on):

  1. Remember why you brought the person on the podcast
  2. Ask follow up questions that the audience would want to know about
  3. Test your setup
  4. Remove distractions and notifications (phone and computer)
  5. Perform a mental check, have a notepad with questions
  6. Don't record immediately and help people relax/make it conversational (imagine we're in a coffee shop and the audience is just a fly on the wall)
  7. Listen to the guest, use the notepad for notes
  8. Thank the guest


This is a sample of what I laid out for myself as I was getting started in September of ’18 for the launch in January of ’19.



End of September

  • Theme
  • Target audience
  • Topics
  • Reach out about Interviews

End of October

  • Equipment purchased
  • Interviews lined up
  • Test run completed

End of November

  • 5 interviews done
  • Begin hype via Social Media

End of December

  • 3 interviews ready for posting

Launch January


In this process, you’re going to fail. The power will go out, you’ll forget to hit record, a person won’t show for the interview, or they will and be a total dud.

Bottom line—go for it. You’ll learn a ton and potentially bring value to 100s or even 1000s of people.


Want More?

Book Steve to speak about podcasting or Patrick about family business transitions. 

Check out our 50+ blogs.

Engage with us on LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast! 


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