Are you prone to running cost-benefit analyses on your free time?
You’re not alone. In the early days of starting a business, time is invaluable. As a budding entrepreneur, you may find it difficult to manage day-to-day tasks and big-picture thinking. One productivity hack sure to help you strike a balance: podcasts.
You can learn the business secrets of some of the world’s most successful companies all while checking stuff off of your never-ending to-do list. To maximize your business-knowledge gains, you just have to know where to start, which leads us to…
The Penny Hoarder’s 10 Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs
Our recommendations of podcasts for entrepreneurs don’t come in any particular order. They include advice from voices both big and small on what goes into starting a business.
AngelList, a website for investors, startup owners and job seekers, was founded in 2010. Over the years, it’s become an invaluable resource for small business owners. It even made our list of top free business resources.
In 2016, AngelList started experimenting with podcasts. It launched season one of AngelList Radio, hosted by entrepreneur Tyler Willis. The podcast features deep dive interviews with successful venture capitalists who were early investors in Reddit, Snapchat, Uber and other companies that went on to become unicorns. The hour-plus-long interviews provide an inside look at how angel investors think and what they’re looking for when investing in startups, something every business owner should take note of.
So far, there’s only one season. The podcast launched with the intention of doing multiple seasons, but there’s been radio silence for quite some time. Still, there’s about nine hours of investor secrets to binge-listen.
Building a StoryBrand Podcast
New businesses often struggle to connect with their customers. There’s a lot to think about when launching a business, and it can be overwhelming for a small team (or a team of one) to manage strategic branding along with day-to-day business functions.
Donald Miller knows this well. He hosts Building a StoryBrand, based on his book of the same title. The podcast and the book hone in on the same theme: “Clarify your message so your customers will listen.”
The series includes more than 150 episodes rife with storytelling techniques to keep your business’s message succinct and engaging, but the podcast also includes other general advice geared toward small business owners. New episodes air on Mondays and typically run 40 minutes to an hour.
The Creative Entrepreneur
When thinking of entrepreneurs, images may come to mind of suit-clad businesspeople power walking to meetings, phone in one hand and suitcase full of pie charts in the other.
Yeah OK, sure. Those people exist somewhere. But the majority of business owners aren’t that stereotype. They are everyday people in Minnesota and Florida and South Dakota, not just New York and San Francisco. And some of those people are trying to make it in creative fields.
The Creative Entrepreneur is one of the best podcasts for entrepreneurs like them. Bob Baker, a podcaster, author and comedian has been making podcasts for nearly two decades. In this series, he pumps out a bimonthly stream of helpful advice and insightful interviews for artists and creatives. Episodes vary in length, ranging from about five to 30 minutes.
In 2013, Nathan Chan founded Foundr, a digital magazine for young entrepreneurs. Chan’s mission is to help people start businesses of their own, and he does so by talking with top-tier CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs, then shares their tricks of the trade.
The publication has a subscription fee, but the Foundr Podcast, which Chan started in 2014, is free.
Each episode runs about a half hour and typically features interviews with notable entrepreneurs, highlighting how they built and scaled their businesses. Some episodes focus on actionable tips on topics such as time management and crowdfunding.
There’s a lot for entrepreneurs to sink their teeth into, as the series is more than 250 episodes strong.
In 2005, “rogue” economics professor Steven D. Levitt teamed up with award-winning journalist Stephen J. Dubner to pen “Freakonomics,” a book that unearths “the hidden side of everything.” The book was wildly successful and spun off several other works, including a blog, more books and, of course, the radio show.
Dubner launched Freakonomics Radio in 2010 and is still cranking out new weekly episodes (nearing the 400 mark). The podcast is an extension of the book’s wide-ranging theme. In contrast to other podcasts on this list, you probably won’t learn a specific investor-wooing strategy. What you will learn is context — into how certain industries work, how the economy works and how politics works.
How I Built This
Hosted by Guy Raz and provided by NPR, How I Built This is an award-winning podcast built on a simple premise: interview the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs of the day and dive into exactly how they achieved success.
Interviews range from the humorous to the heartwrenching. Many entrepreneurs divulge strategies that helped them scale their businesses in the early days, and some share anecdotes of the unglamorous, sleepless, stressful side of entrepreneurship. Raz rounds out each interview with his signature question, “How much of your success is skill and how much is luck?”
New episodes air every week and most of them are more than an hour long.
Mixergy is a website with a mission to help everyday entrepreneurs in the thick of things. It offers e-courses and interviews to spread actionable business advice.
Mixergy Interviews offer a treasure trove of inspiration and business strategies. Over the years, host Andrew Warner has recorded more than 1,800 no-frills interviews that are indexed and searchable by category, such as “bootstrapping,” or “ecommerce” or “women founders.” The archives date back to 2008. (Older episodes may require entering an email address to access.)
Warner posts new episodes almost daily. Each one is about an hour long.
Secrets of Wealthy Women
Think back to that mental image of a stereotypical entrepreneur. Was that power-walking, suit-clad person a male?
The podcast Secrets of Wealthy Women wants to blow up those assumptions and expand the playing field. Among the many podcasts for entrepreneurs, this one aims to empower businesswomen through thoughtful interviews featuring “women executives, workplace pioneers, self-made entrepreneurs, industry trendsetters and money-savvy experts.”
Guests share advice on starting businesses, building personal brands, dealing with pay inequality and discrimination in the workplace, as well as women-centric strategies to achieve financial success.
The Wall Street Journal’s personal finance reporter Veronica Dahger hosts the podcast, which launched in late 2017. Episodes run about 20 to 30 minutes and are published on Wednesdays.
Side Hustle School
Best-selling author Chris Guillebeau’s podcast Side Hustle School is all about breaking your 9-to-5 chains by setting up an income stream that helps you meet your goals, whatever they may be. That premise is central to entrepreneurship and is probably the biggest motivating factor for many people who start their own businesses.
Every day, and sometimes multiple times per day, Guillebeau releases a new episode of Side Hustle School with that credo in mind. (We included this one on our list of the best side hustle podcasts too.)
Each episode features guest with a unique side gig and offers resources on how to create a similar gig or business. Sometimes the episodes are hosted by the hustlers themselves.
In June, The Penny Hoarder interviewed Chris Guillebeau ahead of his new book, “100 Side Hustles,” which is largely based on his podcast series.
Gimlet Media’s CEO Alex Blumberg created StartUp, a podcast that documents — you guessed it — startups. StartUp has won numerous awards since its 2014 launch and even spawned a spinoff sitcom on ABC called “Alex, Inc.”
The first season of StartUp features the trials and tribulations of Gimlet itself. Subsequent seasons follow other businesses, co-hosted by Lisa Chow. Season six takes a bizarre meta turn by chronicling the making of the ABC series about the podcast. Each 30-to-60-minute episode showcases the realities of the startup world, packaged in Gimlet’s signature off-beat humor.
StartUp released its finale in December 2018 after seven seasons.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.