Last year, an estimated 35 million people listened to podcasts weekly. While topics range from pop culture to self-help to business, the medium’s popularity has increased rapidly in recent years.
But not all podcasts are created equal — especially not those in the business and self-help space. There are a few podcasts that create content that best serves the listener and the medium.
Smart People Should Build Things
This podcast, which ended last week, was a product of Venture for America, a fellowship that places recent graduates at startups in growth cities across the country. The weekly show, hosted by entrepreneur Jeremy Shinewald, featured 45 to 60-minute interviews with startup founders and serial entrepreneurs at companies from Birch Box to THINX to Bleacher Report.
The key to success for this podcast was the candor with which guests told their success stories. Unlike in an article or shorter video interview, entrepreneurs were given the time and space to talk through the challenges they faced, the missteps they took and the things they wish they’d known when they started.
Major takeaway: Naivety is a startup founder’s best friend. This was reiterated time and again — unintentionally and coincidentally — on the podcast. Many of the show’s guests were very young when they started their companies, having just graduated from business school, college and, in some cases, high school. And nearly every one of them talked about harnessing the fearlessness that often accompanies youth.
Open for Business
This joint venture between eBay and Gimlet creative is hosted by John Henry, the founder of CoFound Harlem, a startup accelerator in New York. Henry describes the podcast as one that’s about “the stuff no one tells you, the stuff you wish you knew, the stuff you should know when you’re starting a company.”
And he’s right: each episode features up to three entrepreneurs, talking about a part of their story to illustrate one of the show’s many themes, which range from “Bootstrapping 101” to “How to Make It In America” to “How to Hire.”
Major takeaway: Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. In the podcast’s first episode, Henry and his guests explored the “entrepreneurial mind,” speculating about what makes someone fit for the challenging tasks. Although the show tackles a range of topics, they all demonstrate that successful entrepreneurs have certain traits that make them more suited for this challenging career path than those who fail or never try.
Side Hustle Pro
Nicaila Matthews quit her first job at 24 and faced a lot of rejection before finding the professional balance that works for her: a side hustle that supplements her day job. For her, that’s Side Hustle Pro, a social media movement, gear line and now podcast that offers insight and advice on how to turn a side hustle into a profitable business.
The show mixes longform interviews of side hustlers with shorter monologues from Matthews on topics like how to raise funding, branding 101, and how to write cold emails. Throughout each episode, Matthews encourages listeners to head to her Facebook group, where the conversations continue among those who have or are interested in starting their own side hustles.
Major takeaway: sometimes jumping in head-first is not the right thing to do. Lots of entrepreneurship stories are about people who made radical life changes — moving across the country or quitting their job to start something new — in order to pursue a passion. Matthews offers a different avenue: find something that will give you the joy you might not get from your day job, and pursue it with just much work and less risk.
These are just a few of the podcasts that help The Curatours think about the next steps for our business. What self-help podcasts do you listen to? Share with us in the comments or on social media @TheCuratours.