One of the toughest things you can ever do (besides parenting) is start a business. Unfortunately (like parenting), there’s no manual for a new business, and whilst one of the best things you can do is listen to the advice of other inspiring businessmen and women, very few people have a mentor who can be their guide or know where to find one.
Thankfully, there are now a host of podcasts that focus on entrepreneurs and their real life experiences. Starting a business isn’t just about a good idea, and there are so many factors that come into play, from choosing a team, to leadership skills, to resilience, to managing workload, people and suppliers.
Here are our favourite podcasts, that feature some of the best business people on the planet. Not just for entrepreneurs, they are also helpful for anyone anywhere in the workspace whether freelance, part of a bigger company, in creative or more corporate industries.
Podcast duration: 30mins to 1 hour
Probably one of the most well-known podcasts on the planet, How I Built this with Guy Raz, delves into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies and entrepreneurs. Creating a narrative story in every interview, Raz speaks to innovators, founders and idealists about their personal start-up journeys and the movements they have built. From Andi Puddicombe, the monk who created the app Headspace, to Emily Weiss founder of cosmetics brand Glossier, to John Foley creator of Peloton, Jen Rubio co-founder of Away Luggage, and Anthony Caselena whose website tool business Squarespace is now valued at $1.7 billion. Hear how Joe Gebbia of Air BnB started his business thanks to a chance encounter with friend as a way to pay his rent, and how Sara Bakely, founder of Spanx was selling fax machines before she started her seamless underwear brand that is now a household name or how Michael McKelvey started WeWork when he convinced a friend to share an office space in Brooklyn. Fascinating listening.
Podcast duration: 15mins to 1 hour
Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or desperate to quit your day job, this show by New York Times bestselling author, business coach and TV presenter Chalene Johnson and her son Brock will have something for you. Each straight-talking podcast drills down into the a subject related to business building such as ‘My personal strategy for content promotion’ to ‘How to manage young kids and build a business’ and ‘The difference between a mentor and coach.’ Whether you’re looking for top tips to build your social media, want to know how to grow your email list, how to build your following on Instagram, how to work on a budget or need to develop digital marketing strategies but don’t know where to start, then Build your Tribe can help. With lots of practical tips, back-to-basics advice to take away and fascinating interviews, one of our favourite sections is Quick Tip Tuesday where they give lots of practical in-depth tips on a particular topic in under 15 minutes.
Podcast duration: 30 minutes and under (some are just 9 minutes)
Monocle magazine was launched in 2007 to provide an intelligent briefing on global affairs, business, design, culture and much more. Their podcast, The Entrepreneurs is aimed at anyone who is starting up or is running a business. Short and succinct, each podcast is under 30 minutes long and consists of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs that you may not always have heard of but who always have a fascinating and inspiring story to tell. Those companies include AllPlants, a vegan delivery service in the UK, Vivobarefoot the lightweight running shoe brand, Dishoom who have modernised the Indian restaurant in the UK, the beauty entrepreneur Jo Malone, and the wonders of streetwear label Folk. In each interview you learn as much about running a business and their reasons for being, as we do about a fascinating new subject you didn’t know about before.
Podcast duration: 40 minutes to 1 hour
Hosted by business coach Alex Judd, the Entreleadership podcast features lively discussions and tips on leadership and business by some of the cleverest minds in the world. Every week is a different subject matter with a different interviewee such as ‘Are you Indispensible?’ with Seth Goldin, ‘How to celebrate your team’ with Chris Hogan and ‘Studying Failure’ with Jon Erwin. Whether you want to scale your business, manage your team better or sort out your finances, there is a podcast here that can guide you through it.
Podcast duration: 5 minute Friday sessions to 1.5 hours for longer interviews
Lewis Howes is a NYT bestselling author, former pro athlete and world record holder in football. His career as an athlete was stopped short by a devastating injury. Howes’ aim in the School of Greatness is to share inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet and to therefore discover what makes the great people great. With awe inspiring interviews from the likes of the late Kobe Bryant on ‘Life, Love and Legacy’, Gabby Bernstein on ‘Healing Trauma and Spiritual Freedom’ and hypnotherapist Derren Brown on ‘Mindset and Persuasion’ Howe has also created an amazing library of podcasts where he anchors each chapter with a lesson he learnt from his own teachers. This podcast is life enhancing for anyone in business but is packed with life lessons for outside of the office too.
Podcast duration: 30 minutes to 3 hours
The Tim Ferriss podcast is often the number one podcast on all apple podcasts and it is the first business/ interview podcasts to succeed 100,000,000 downloads. Ferriss himself is an early stage tech investor/ adviser and the author of 5 bestselling books including The Four Hour Work Week and Tools of Titans which documents the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers. Selected as the best of Apple podcasts for 3 years running, in each episode, Ferriss interviews world-class success stories from various eclectic areas including sports, investing, business or art. Ferriss is a master at extracting the tools, tactics and routines they use to make themselves successful. These could be morning routines, books they read, exercise, time management tricks and so much more. With past guests including actor Edward Norton, burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt and athlete LeBron James, it is a fascinating deep dive into what makes people tick. There are also business targeted podcasts such as ‘Two Questions every entrepreneur should answer’ and Howard Marks on ‘How to invest with Clear thinking’ is unmissable.
Podcast duration: 50 minutes to 1hr 20
Start-up Microdose is a hugely inspiring podcast that focusses solely on entrepreneurs, giving us a chance to learn from some of the brightest brains in the business. Set up by Ed Stephens who is Global Head of Brokerage and Partnerships at Angel Investment Network who has helped some of the UK’s best entrepreneurs raise money for their businesses, and host Oliver Jones who is Head of Marketing at the Angel Investment Group, this is the world in which both inhabit daily. Each episode focusses on a new entrepreneur from the likes of Julien Callade, co-founder of interiors company Made.com who gives a meticulous account of the Made.com journey from concept to success, to Will Harris founder of Entale Media on revolutionising the podcast industry and Lord Karan Bilimoria who is CEO of Cobra Beer. Split into chapters, it gives the listener a chance to skip sections or go to the chapters they want. Each episode is also filmed and added to the Start-up Microdose YouTube channel if you want to put a face to the names behind the interviews.