13 podcasts every freelancer should listen to
It’s a new year, which means new goals, resolutions and mantras. Among our favorites we’ve heard from our community members is to make a habit of consistent learning. We love reading, but podcasts offer a way to broaden your perspective and learn something new while doing something else. They’re an effective way to take in knowledge and advice while doing admin work, cleaning, cooking, walking, commuting, doing laundry, etc. They’re the perfect learning tool for a busy freelancer.
Although they’ve been around for a decade, podcasts have seen a resurgence over the last few years. They’ve established success with a viable business model, gaining a strong foothold in the media market. As a result, there are incredible podcasts out there today, and we’re not just talking about Serial.
Here are the podcasts every freelancer should listen to for help with everything from tapping your creativity, being more productive, hacking your workflow, dealing with clients, building your business and more.
1) The Unmistakable Creative
For: Anyone looking to be inspired from others’ stories or for actionable tips on productivity, creativity, tapping passion and more.
After listening to an episode of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast, you’ll find yourself ready to tackle any challenge. One of our favorite things about the show is that host Srinivas Rao interviews people who are successful, but you may have never heard of them. He talks to creative folks across industries and all walks of life along with the influencers you do know such as Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Elle Luna and Simon Sinek. Guests walk through their past, explaining what and who helped shape their success, often getting tactical in how they’ve reached their accomplishments. Some of our favorite episodes are Why Talent is Overrated and Humans are Underrated with Geoff Colvin and Living an Insanely Productive Life with Chris Bailey.
2) Startup Podcast
For: Anyone looking for an inside look into starting their own business (startup or freelance) or working with startups.
In season one of Startup, former This American Life and Planet Money producer Alex Blumberg shared an inside and intimate look into starting his media business, Gimlet. It’s so honest and easy to empathize with that sometimes it’s difficult to listen to. We really love how they transparently share the nitty gritty truth behind starting a business. Season two offered a different perspective by sharing the stories of another startup. Currently, they’re running a mini-season with another inside look into Gimlet.
3) Reply All
For: Anyone who works and lives on the internet and loves stories.
From the folks at Gimlet, Reply All is a show about the humans behind the internet. Hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, each episode features stories about how people shape the internet, and how the internet shapes people.
4) Writer’s Bloc
For: Writers of all types looking for inspiration and to improve their process.
Writer’s Bloc lets you in on how blank pages become your favorite television comedies. Host J.R. Havlan, 16-year veteran writer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, picks the brains of the writers who help create The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, 30 Rock, Letterman, SNL, The Office and more. Although the show focuses on comedy TV, the stories and insights shared will help any writer struggling to put words on paper.
For: Non-fiction writers and creatives.
From the folks of The Atavist and Longform, the Longform Podcast gives you a behind the scenes look into the writing process of journalists behind some of your favorite pieces from The New York Times, Politico, Vice, Fast Company and more. In each episode, you’ll learn how writers get their ideas, pitch, research, work with editors and manage their personal brands.
6) The Freelancer
For: All freelancers, new or veterans.
Legendary freelancer and producer of the Creative Class, Paul Jarvis shares his insights, lessons and mistakes on The Freelancer. Each episode is a short look at what he’s learned as a freelancer. Listen for actionable take-aways and quick tips from a pro.
7) A Little Bird Told Me
For: Any freelancer, especially those working on writing.
On A Little Bird Told Me, two freelance writers chart the highs, lows and no-nos of successful self-employment. Episodes cover a variety of topics from how to manage needy clients to writing for agencies; from streamlining your own social media marketing to justifying freelance rates, and beyond.
For: Any freelancers, creative folks and business owners.
From the folks at Behance, the 99U Podcast sits down with leading makers, thinkers and entrepreneurs for a deep dive into what makes their creative process tick. The podcast covers a range of helpful topics such as negotiating for more money, building the perfect workplace or gaining traction with DuckDuckGo founder Gabe Weinberg.
9) Happier with Gretchen Rubin
For: Anyone looking to live a happy and healthy life.
The author of New York Times bestseller Better than Before, Gretchen Rubin and her sister, TV writer Elizabeth Craft host the show Happier with Gretchen Rubin that’s part self-help, social psychology and conversation. Episodes range from lessons learned from getting fired to insights into how to find happiness from actress Drew Barrymore. The overarching theme of each episode is how to build healthy habits and live a healthier life.
10) This American Life
For: Anyone who loves a good story and is interested in culture.
An oldie but goody hosted by the legendary storyteller Ira Glass, This American Life is the most popular podcast in the country. The show tells compelling stories behind every aspect of culture, interviewing people from all walks of life. The show has absolutely nothing to do with freelancing and little to do with business, but it’s a great source of inspiration and perspective on topics that can spark ideas for any type of project.
11) 99% Invisible
For: Anyone interested in design or who’s inspired by the field.
Another NPR show, 99% Invisible hosted by Roman Mars takes an innovative approach to telling stories about design and the industry. Although our community doesn’t focus on design specifically, we feel there’s a lot to learn from the industry and the people building successful businesses within it.
12) Let’s Make Mistakes
For: Any creative.
This appropriately titled podcast hosted by designers Mike Monteiro and Jessie Char is an honest and funny look at the creative process and the business of design, and well any creative field. They discuss anything from whether or not your college education will help you get a job to resumes to focusing and beyond.
13) Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin
For: Any creative looking for inspiration or to hone their interview skills.
Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing is one famous person interviewing a lot of other famous people, but his unique interviewing style is entertaining and inspiring for anyone looking to hone their interview skills. You’ll learn about what inspires your favorite actors, politicians and creatives—about their process, what decisions changed their careers, what relationships inspired their work and more.
Check these podcasts out and let us know which episodes are your favorites. Have any to add? Share them in the comments below!
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