It started as a lark about his favorite TV show.
A decade later, Cliff Ravenscraft has turned podcasting into a full-time, lucrative business that reaches hundreds of thousands of fans (and customers) worldwide.
The Kentucky-based entrepreneur was one of the first to blaze a path that used podcasting as a full-time business model, quitting his day job as an insurance salesman in 2008 to focus on what was then a new way for internet users to consume free, talk-radio style audio on demand.
Getting “Lost” with podcasting
“My wife was obsessed with the TV show ‘Lost,'” Ravenscraft told me on a recent episode of Nemo Radio. “She finally got me to watch an episode, and I was completely hooked.”
Like many other fans of the runaway hit (it ran on ABC from 2004-2010), Ravenscraft began sharing his passion and theories about what was really happening on “Lost” online via his blog.
From fan to featured expert
One of his theories ended up landing him a guest interview on a popular fan-based podcast about “Lost,” and it drove so much traffic and attention to his blog that Entertainment Weekly ended up featuring him (and his blog post) in a story about the show’s passionate fans.
“That was my introduction to the world of podcasting,” he says.
Encouraged by readers to turn his blog posts about “Lost” into a Podcast, Ravenscraft recorded his first-ever episode in 2005.
“I got 500 downloads, and I was blown away,” he says. “I realized I had this amazing way to educate, encourage and inspire people all over the world.”
Building a business with podcasting
Over the next few years, Ravenscraft took a huge leap of faith — quitting his full-time job as an insurance salesman to start his own business as a full-time podcast producer and consultant.
Despite very real struggles in his first year to generate income, Ravenscraft has gone on to build a thriving, six-figure business by monetizing his podcasts in several different ways, including:
- Ads and sponsorships for specific shows and episodes
- Affiliate marketing commissions for equipment and products he recommends
- Consulting, coaching and speaking fees
- Online courses and training
- On-site workshops and training