The Budget-Friendly Tools I Used to Start and Grow the Hashtags+Stilettos Podcast

The Budget-Friendly Tools I Used to Start and Grow the Hashtags+Stilettos Podcast


I started my ‘Hashtags and Stilettos‘ podcast about 6 months ago and it’s been a really rewarding and fulfilling experience. It’s amazing how sharing stories or talking about business in a different medium can open your world up in so many different ways. It’s also been awesome to watch people discover and actually listen to the podcast, especially since I’m not talking about pop culture topics or telling jokes the whole time.

18 episodes later I wanted to let you guys in on a secret. A lot of people, including me before I started, view podcasting as a daunting medium because we think that we need more than we actually need just to get started. So I wanted to share the tools that I use on a daily basis to make the show happen, to demonstrate just how easy and budget-friendly it is to start and grow a podcast. There are definitely other things to consider, like time management, having something to talk about, etc., but for now, let’s just talk about the tools.

Here’s my podcast starter kit:

For Recording and Editing Episodes

Garageband on Mac – Free

If I’m doing a solo episode, I record and edit it in Garageband, the software that comes preloaded on every Mac computer. I’m still finding my way around the editing tools, but its fairly easy to get in and record an episode. When I do have to make edits, which I’ve had to do to my interview episodes, I turn to Youtube for tutorial videos.

samson go microphone
Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone – $39.00

This microphone was technically a gift, so this doesn’t count toward my total podcast start up costs. The first few episodes of my podcast were actually recorded using the microphone on my Apple earbuds.

In that first episode, I talked about the fact that I didn’t have a microphone and voila a friend said they had one laying around and sent it to me (score!). Listen to my first episode, here:

For Recording Multi-Party Calls/Interviews

At some point in your podcasting journey, you may want to have co-hosts or invite guests to participate in your show. And unless you record in a studio, this may seem like a daunting task, but with the tools below it becomes super easy.

Zencastr – Free

Zencastr might be my favorite tool. When I first tested it out, it completely blew my mind with how seamless it was!

Zencastr creates a VOIP connection for you and a guest directly in your web browser. All you have to do is send them a link and once they click it, they’ll be in the call. After you finish recording you have the option to manually edit the separate audio tracks or combine them by selecting the post-production option. The final audio files are then added to your connected Dropbox account. It’s amazing and won’t be free for long as the founder has plans to add a monthly subscription soon.

Call Recorder for Skype by eCamm – $29.99

I purchased Call Recorder before I discovered Zencastr and I’m happy I did because for some reason a recent guest was unable to pull up Zencastr.

The only downside to using Call Recorder is that it requires the other person to have Skype, be logged on and connected to you, while you can get up and running on Zencastr in a single step. All in all, I’m happy to have this as a backup!

For Scheduling Interviews

Calendly – Free

When I finally decided to have guests on my show I knew I didn’t want to go through the nightmarish “what time works best for you” scheduling back and forth, so when I found out about Calendly after being scheduled to appear on someone else’s podcast (hey Rana!), I was like THANK GOD!

Calendly connects to your actual calendar and allows you to select your availability. When a prospective guest receives my unique calendly link, they’ll see the screen above with available dates, they’ll click a date they like and find a time that they are available out of what I’ve listed. Once they select and confirm a time, Calendly sends a confirmation email to both of us and automatically creates a new calendar notice. Clutch!

For Creating Podcast Artwork

Canva – Free

Canva is an amazing, amazing design tool for both beginners and pros. It already has pre-selected right-sized options for different platforms and a gallery of designer-made and community-made designs for inspiration. While most of the features are free, they also have premium designs and features available.

For Hosting Your Podcast RSS Feed

Soundcloud Pro Unlimited Annual Subscription – $135.00

Since the Apple iTunes podcast platform doesn’t host RSS feeds, I turned to Soundcloud and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to get everything set up. Because I wasn’t sure if I’d be fully committed to the podcast, I started out with a free account (I recommend this for beginners), which allows you to upload up to 6 hours of audio. Most of my shows are under 30 minutes long so I could have stayed on the free account for awhile, but I traded up to get more access to my stats and more control over my content. Check out the Soundcloud podcasting guide to get started.

iTunes Podcast Platform/App – Free

Once you get your RSS feed set up, you can submit your podcast to iTunes for approval (it takes a minimum of 24 hours for the approval to go through). Check out this iTunes podcasting guide to get started.

For Promotion

Social Media – Free

Think about the last article you’ve read or podcast episode you’ve listened to and chances are you saw it first on social media. While there are certainly other avenues you can use to promote your podcast, social media makes the most sense for the aforementioned reason.

I promote the podcast on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat (I deactivated my personal Facebook account months ago). I’m still searching for the right mix of platforms to use and the right frequency of posts, but even when it seems like I’m doing a lot, something or someone confirms that I could be doing more.

Clammr – Free

Clammer is a web- and app-based platform that allows you to share up to 24 second audio clips on social media. You can share any type of media but it lends itself to podcasts. I just started using it and I love it because it’s a convenient way to highlight key parts of a podcast and hopefully entice people to give the full episode a listen. I also love that anyone can use Clammr to highlight clips from a podcast, in fact, someone else was using it to talk about #HashtagsandStilettos which is how I found it.

Total Podcast Start Up Costs – $164.99

My total podcast start up costs were $164.99, but it could have been even lower had I held out on the premium Soundcloud subscription.

If  you’re thinking about starting a podcast, use this list or the tons of other free resources that are available to you. You can’t use cost as an excuse, so get started and remember: Done is Better Than Perfect.

Subscribe to the ‘Hashtags and Stilettos’ podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud and never miss an episode!