What It's About
A podcast to help you weather the apocalypse!
Words of Wisdom
What is the real genius behind Jack’s success? It’s not that he has the prettiest website, the best interview guests, or the coolest giveaways—it’s that he’s engaging, honest (sometimes brutally honest), and genuine on the show—and his listeners find this to be a breath of fresh air.
To celebrate breaking 200,000 daily podcast listeners, Jack hosted a small, local 3-hour party in his home that podcast listeners ended up flying in from all over the country to be a part of.
Notes from Chris
Episode 674By most standards, Jack Spirko was thriving. He was a co-owner of a holding company that managed three individual businesses. These businesses were making a lot of money. All was well … except for Jack himself. He had been living the high life of corporate success for years, but he felt pulled back to his roots: the mountains of Pennsylvania. Gardening, hunting, fishing, bartering with neighbors, growing most of their own food. He missed the nature, the family dinners, and the self-sufficiency that drove it all. After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 (9/11), it became much more than a faraway goal. What he wanted more than anything was just to spend time with his family—because as the world had just seen, you never know when disaster will strike. That’s when the journey into the world of preparedness (or prepping) began. Jack started teaching himself about topics including permaculture, self-defense, and food storage. He paid off all his debts, learned everything there is to know about backup generators, and became an expert on Libertarian philosophy. Slowly, Jack became a master survivalist—but he didn’t leave his job. One of his clients said they wanted to start up a new thing called ‘podcasts’. Nobody on the team knew how, so Jack picked up the responsibility (this was, remember, about 10 years ago). He figured there was no better way to learn the in’s and out’s of podcasts than to try making one himself. So he bought an $18 headset, a $30 Sony digital recorder, a $10/month web hosting plan, and started recording himself in the car. He talked into the recorder about what he knew: self-reliance, getting out of debt, and prepping for the next disaster. There was no real script or agenda or performance. It was just Jack, being himself—grit, passion, and all. He uploaded the episodes to his new website, The Survival Podcast, and started sharing them with friends. It turned out that he really liked doing this. It was fun freely giving away his secrets to self-sufficiency, so he started recording a new show every day on his way to work—and his few listeners (mostly friends and family) were eating it up. Jack quickly realized that The Survival Podcast could be more than a test hobby. People were craving the skills and insights he had been learning over the last seven years. He just had to figure out how to monetize. In February of 2009, Jack launched the Survival Podcast Membership. For $50 a year, listeners could have access to exclusive discounts, a couple dozen member-only videos, and a handful of ebooks on survival topics, like how to How to Build Top Bar Beehives and Traditional Clay Ovens. Jack figured the discounts on products alone made it a no-brainer. Many of his listeners agreed. That month, The Survival Podcast earned $20,000. It was unbelievable—far more than he had made any other month from sponsorships or the occasional Adsense Ad. The next month, he made another $15,000. The podcast has been running for ten years now, and it’s bigger than ever. Jack just celebrated his first ever day with 200,000 downloads, and he’s been consistently earning multiple six figures for nine of his ten years. Most of that comes from the site membership, which has grown to include discounts from 70 brands, and a daily featured Amazon.com product now makes up about 20% of that income. A few other streams, like YouTube ads and an annual workshop, also contribute some. For Jack, the wild financial success isn’t the best part—in his corporate years, he’d already learned that money isn’t the key to happiness. The true success is knowing he’s helping thousands of people reach for their lifestyle and financial goals, and he’s getting to achieve his along the way.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The Survival Podcast: Don't get lost in the rubble—learn more about what you need to survive the apocalypse over on Jack's website!
- Musician Turns Drum Lessons Into Six-Figure Podcast: It starts with a drum set that his brother’s band left at his house for a month when he was a teenager—and it develops into a lifelong love of percussion and a major moneymaker
- Business Besties Turn Skype Calls Into Six-Figure Podcast: After two friends create a podcast for fun, it turns into a side hustle that generates $100,000 in its first year, multiple six-figures in year two, and a book deal in year three
- Creative Illustrator Creates Creative Podcast for Creatives: This freelance illustrator did design work for Google and Nickelodeon, but after giving a talk at his church he decides to start a podcast—which now earns up to $70,000 a year on the side
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