How I Started A $30K/Month Audiobooks And Podcasts Production Company

$30K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
4
Employees
product
Audivita Studios
from Albuquerque
started January 2018
$30,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
4
Employees
market size
$11.1B
avg revenue (monthly)
$36.3K
starting costs
$16.8K
gross margin
72%
time to build
8 months
average product price
$30
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
Advertising
best tools
Airtable, Grammarly, Canva
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
36 Pros & Cons
tips
8 Tips
Discover what tools David reccommends to grow your business!
productivity
podcast
Discover what books David reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Podcast Production Company

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m David Wolf, the founder, and CEO of Audivta Studios. I’m a long-time music composer and audio producer for advertising, radio, television, film, advertising, and publishing. Our company is an audio production company that produces audiobooks and podcasts.

After an initial 3 years of solid business, we’ve got our founding leadership team in place, now actively work with a dozen freelance contractors, and are tracking for $400k annualized revenues in 2021. We have worked with some 300+ clients since starting the business.

how-i-started-a-30k-month-audiobooks-and-podcasts-production-company

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

As a long-time audio producer, creating this business was a very natural evolution. The spoken word audio content market not only existed but was beginning to explode when I entered the market. The huge personal shift for me was making the transition from doing the creative work to co-creating the human infrastructure and systems to generate multiple projects simultaneously, leveraging the talents of others.

By age 40, I had become satisfied with the work I had accomplished in the music field and wanted to explore different aspects of the audio market and my own capacity to start and grow another business.

how-i-started-a-30k-month-audiobooks-and-podcasts-production-company

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

We are a service provider. We didn’t invent or develop a product or software solution. At the core, we are an aggregator of great talent, systematize the production process, generate sales through consistent outreach, networking, and word-of-mouth, and deliver an excellent product and client experience.

The service we offer is actually also a product because tangible digital deliverables are the direct output of the work we do.

The form and structure of what we deliver are pre-determined by the existing distribution channels we supply to. Audiobooks require a fixed standard of audio requirements and technical specs, as do the podcasts we produce.

We work almost entirely with remotely recording our authors and podcasters from their home or home office. There is no recording studio facility required.

Our audiobook and podcast production services include assistance with file management and setting up distribution.

Because we were a team entirely made of independent contractors, there were effectively no startup costs. Before adding contractors, I was personally doing everything myself. One by one, I added team members, starting with my VA and Executive Assistant.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The launch of Audivita started with the idea to create a virtual audio production company that helps people connect their voices to the world. Before formalizing the business, I was personally doing all of the work: selling, recording, editing, and assisting with distribution.

Remember that capital is a fluid concept, not static. Moving money through your company will help maintain its financial and operational health, just as blood moves through your body does this to sustain life.

The first step in building the team was hiring a VA to assist with G&A and systems management. At the same time, I began contracting with Shaun Hettinger who took over much of the podcast editing, and ultimately the recording as well.

Following the addition of Shaun, Jay Spang, a multitalented video editor, graphic designer, publishing, and business strategy specialist joined the team with the idea that he would contribute wherever needed to help bolster the growth of the business.

The business has always been self-funded, in part because we solely employ independent contractors which allow us to expand and contract our workforce as demands change.

Today we have a core team of four independent contractors, with the idea that these core team members may eventually become employees and even part owners in the business.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We’ve been reaching out to LinkedIn Groups for new contacts, partners, and clients. A good deal of our business is referral-based. We also periodically run video commercials on Facebook and LinkedIn. I speak at events and conferences throughout the year and appear on podcasts and webinars as an expert guest.

Other suggestions for business leaders:

  • Keep your promise to your team and your clients
  • Obsess about your client satisfaction
  • Build a supportive company culture
  • Care about your clients’ projects
  • Listen carefully to your team and your clients
  • Create a remarkable client experience

how-i-started-a-30k-month-audiobooks-and-podcasts-production-company

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

  • We are in a period of rapid growth, currently tracking for $360K in 2021
  • Profitable in 2019 and 2020, running a slight net loss YTD in 2021 due to new business initiatives
  • Our COGS run in the 45%
  • Our gross margins normally run in the 50%
  • Podcast Customers have a relatively long term, recurring revenue stream
  • We are opening markets in India, Europe, and Australia
  • We’ll stay focused on audiobooks and podcasts for the foreseeable future
  • Operations today include 4 core team leaders plus the CEO, along with a casting team and multiple freelance audio editors and producers.
  • We currently have 7.5K connections on LinkedIn, which is our primary focus in social media
  • We’ll be continuing to secure white-label relationships with publishing companies and author-service providers.
  • The audiobooks we produce are distributed via Apple, Amazon, and Audible plus up to 35 additional retail channels.
  • Podcasts we produce for our clients are distributed via iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart, Tune-In, Amazon and Google

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

  • Be decisive, take action when called for, and know when to be patient and do nothing
  • Don’t overprocess information that you encounter
  • Listen carefully to your team
  • Face business challenges head-on and take sweeping action when required
  • Support your team, and take good care of them
  • Understand the concept of business risk, and remember that growth has a cost
  • Control what you can, and accept and work

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We leverage the following tools and saas platforms for our operation:

  • LinkedIn - business development and networking
  • Squadcast - end to end recording system
  • Monday - Project Management and Customer Management System
  • Sounder.fm - podcast server and ad management
  • Gmail - domain emails for the entire team
  • Calendly - appointment scheduling
  • Streamyard - Live streaming platform for podcast clients
  • Auphonics - audio processing
  • ACX - audiobook distribution
  • Authors Republic - audiobook distribution
  • Audiogram - audiogram creation for podcast promos
  • Numerous digital audio workstations such as Pro Tools, Ableton, Digital Performer, Adobe and others

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

Always be aware of the business risk you are endeavoring. It’s easy to underestimate risks due to irrational optimism. At the same time, you must be passionate about and focused on the mission of the business.

Remember that capital is a fluid concept, not static. Moving money through your company will help maintain its financial and operational health, just as blood moves through your body does this to sustain life.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are expanding our business development team to expand our base of publishers and business referral sources. Business development partners are either commission-only or commission plus a retainer.

We are always seeking new voice talent and new audio editors and recording producers.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
David B Wolf,   Founder of Audivita Studios
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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