There’s not shortage of people and websites claiming that they have “the right equipment” for you to get started with your podcast. Even this blog has an equipment list. And there seems to be a constant clammor for more, all around the internet. I’ll make it simple for you, though: start with what you have, or pick something quickly and move on.
Choosing the right equipment or the right software is a waste of time right now. You need to be more concerned with preparing and producing the content of your podcast at this point.
The “Right Equipment” Is The Wrong Idea
When you were learning to ride a bicycle, did your parents buy you a $10,000 racing bike and enter you in the Tour de France? When you were teaching your child to walk, did you buy them a $300 pair of running shoes and ask them to run the Boston Marathon? Of course not! The idea of that is ridiculous! Why, then, do we expect people to buy new equipment and “do it right” when they are starting out with podcasting?
Wait… you don’t believe that this is happening? A casual search on twitter reveals a number of people frustrated or waiting because they don’t have the right equipment, or asking about what equipment they should get before they start.
@SignalLeaf I have been researching this for weeks now and everything I have read has said the complete opposite to not start cheap. Lol
— Michael Wright (@MrWrightNow78) December 29, 2013
These tweets often look like this:
I want to start a podcast, but I don’t have the right equipment
What equipment do I need to start a podcast?
These are questions on which people often get stuck. They assume that you need a setup that looks like this:
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret… your podcast “studio” is going to look more like this, when you start:
Let me make this very clear: if you have a computer with a mic and an internet connection, you already have the right equipment.
A Reward With No Effort
John Sonmez summed up the problem quite nicely:
Most people have it backwards. They buy a treadmill thinking they will run because they spent $1k. Or they buy new running shoes or a guitar.
The ones who actually succeed, run in old sneaker and tell themselves that when they have been running for 3 months they can buy real running shoes. The ones who don’t give up early are the ones who borrow a friend’s piece of crap guitar and promise themselves that once they learn 10 songs they’ll buy their own guitar.
When you already have the reward, you lack the motivation and you don’t appreciate the instrument. How do you appreciate $5,000 golf clubs if you never played with $50 golf clubs?
The same is true of any reward, or any nice equipment for any purpose. Buying the right equipment now is not a guarantee that you are going to produce a great podcast. Wait until you have gone through the first experimental stages and you know that you want to continue, having proven that you can produce content.
Once you have shown that you can produce content and get it delivered, reward the effort with better equipment. But don’t rely on the equipment to make your job easy. It takes effort, no matter what equipment you are using. The reason others make it look effortless, is not because of the equipment they have. It is because they have struggled through the learning curve and have mastered the tools and processes; they have earned the equipment, the effortless production, and the audience.
So get started now, with what you have. Earn the rewards of better equipment, and build your audience and skillset through your efforts.
A Computer, A Mic, And Internet Connection
If you’re reading this, you’re using a computer. Your computer may be called an iPhone or an iPad, it may be an Android or a laptop of some sort. There are a lot of different computers with a lot of different names. But they are all computers and most of them can be used for recording your podcast. The easiest computer to use for your first episode is going to be a laptop, but nearly any computer and microphone will work.
Speaking of microphones, that is something you need to have in order to record your podcast. But, nearly every computer comes with some sort of microphone built in to it these days. If you have a headset with a mic, for gaming or to use for Skyp and other chat services, that’s even better! You’ll get better sound out of a headset than you will out of a laptop mic. But I wouldn’t let a laptop mic stop you from starting your podcast. If it can record your voice, it can be used to produce your podcast.
Lastly, you’ll need access to the internet with a fair upload speed. Smart phones, tablets, laptops and PCs of all sorts have built-in internet connections that let us get online and find everything we never wanted to know, and more! This same internet connection is needed for uploading your podcast episode to your podcast hosting service. But don’t worry too much about this. The connection is only really needed when you are uploading your episode. You won’t need a connection to record a podcast, if you are only recording yourself or if you have all of your guests in the same room as you.
No More Excuses
The truth is, a lot of people use the idea of not having “the right equipment” as an excuse – even if they don’t realize it. It’s easy to hide behind the idea that you need to spend a lot of money on equipment. It’s easy to say that you’ll get started once you save up enough to get the right microphone. It’s easy to put this off, because it takes no effort. It takes no work. There is no committment involved in not doing anything. Talk is cheap, and talking about how you want to do this, but can’t because you don’t the right equipment, is the cheapest of the cheap.
The first podcast experience that you have is more about you than anything else. It’s about you getting comforable with the idea of recording, of producing something, and putting your thoughts out there for the world to hear. It’s not about the equipment that you do or don’t have.
It’s like Jenny Brewster said:
Record in the Cupboard if that’s where you’re happy
Sure, if you happen to have some equipment already, it might make your first episode sound better. But it’s not about the quality, when you’re starting out. Starting is all about getting up and running quickly.
Yes, there is at a bare minimum amount of equipment that you do need. The good news is that you have everything you need, already.
Published And Flawed Is Better Than Not Published
This really is the point of what I’m trying to say: it’s far better to have published a flawed podcast with less than perfect audio quality, than to wait for the right equipment.
Podcasting is like any other skill – it takes practices, not money, to get good at it. Producing your first podcast may feel awkward, but this is normal. Everyone goes through this the first time they record something. But you’ll find that over time, your podcast quality will naturally improve. You’ll get better at speaking. You’ll get better at positioning the microphone. You’ll be become more comfortable, and you’ll enjoy the process much more.
Don’t wait for the right equipment. Use the equipment that you have right now, and get started!
Want To Know More About Getting Started?
This blog post is the first chapter from my e-book, Prepare, Produce, Publish: Your first podcast, in 3 easy steps!. If you’d like to know more about getting started, how to record your first episode, where to publish the files and how to get your podcast online quickly, get the e-book! It’s FREE when you sign up to receive all the latest podcasting news and tips! Just drop your email address in to the form below and you’ll receive the e-book at no charge.