July 24, 2014

Microphone

Last year, Tom Merritt decided to start his own podcast without any initial funding. Credit: Alan Levine / Flickr Creative Commons

Last year, Tom Merritt was fired. Which was when Merritt, the former host of a popular tech radio show, decided to embark on a bold path: build his own podcast, the Daily Tech News Show, without any initial funding. "Let me try doing it just on my own," Merritt says of his approach.

The idea was pretty simple. If people enjoyed listening to the show, he would ask them to contribute a small amount of money per month. "I had built a following of people who liked the stuff that I did, so I launched the Daily Tech News Show and asked people to help support it if they thought it was good."

At the outset, Merritt had to take on all the responsibilities of a radio show without any help. That meant finding the content for the show, promoting it, writing the scripts, and looking for music - all of the little things usually accomplished by a team. But that quickly changed. Often without even asking, Merritt found that his audience was more than willing to help run the show.

"Members of the audience developed a logo for me. Members of the audience have been contributing promos and music for me," says Merritt. "I am constantly surprised by the member participation. A lot of the times it's given to me without even asking. The lie is that people are lazy or only in things for the money, but the fact is - and I think we've all experienced this - when you're really enthusiastic about something, you want to give something back to it."

As for the results of Merritt's experiment, The Daily Tech News Show now gets more than 20,000 listens per day, and around $11,000 per month in funding. Not too bad for someone without a job just a year ago.

Think it's about time you became your own boss? Learn how Merritt made the transition by listening to the full interview, above.

Guest:

Business, Tom Merritt, podcasts

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