Expert Tips To Create A Successful Podcast on a Budget

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Podcasting On A Budget

Niall Mackay: [00:00:00] Welcome to the latest episode of Smarter Podcasting. I'm Niall Mackay, the podcast guy and founder of Seven Million Bikes podcast. I work with podcasters around the world to help them share their story and connect with their audience.

So are you interested in creating your own podcast but don't have a lot of money to spend on equipment? And you're in luck? Because today I'm gonna be talking about how to record the podcast on a budget with Brian Beat him back from Summit City Studios and the host of good podcasting.

Brian interviewed me for good podcasting and we discussed our experiences starting and growing our own shows, and we talk about the equipment and recording setup that we use our approach to interviewing guests and the challenges we faced while producing our podcast.

A massive thank you to Brian for letting me share this episode on Smarter Podcasting with You. Make sure you go check out his show, good Podcasting, and follow it as well as Smarter [00:01:00] Podcasting to help you take your podcast to the next level, wherever you are right now in your journey. A barrier for many people to start a podcast is the belief that it requires expensive or complicated equipment.

But that's simply not true, and I am proof of that. I started my first podcast in 2019 with a 2010 MacBook Pro. The free software that's included called Garage Band to Edit, and a Blue Yeti USB mic that I bought for a hundred dollars that broke after one season and is still sitting in my cupboard. To this day, I have this hope that it will magically repair itself and start working again maybe one day.

I didn't have a studio headphones, a good laptop or even much knowledge of what to do, but I was passionate about my subject and excited to share the stories of my guests. You're about to hear in this episode with Brian how I was able to go from there to creating a podcast that has been listened to around the world.

Just broken 50,000 downloads and is in the top [00:02:00] 10% of podcast worldwide.

I now produce three of my own podcasts and make shows for people around the world, from the Netherlands to Vietnam, the uk, and the us. With a little bit of creativity and some smart purchasing decisions, you too can create a high quality podcast without breaking the bank. In fact, many successful podcasts have been recorded on a shoestring budget.

So if you're ready to learn some tips and tricks for recording a great podcast without spending a lot of money and stick around, I'm gonna share with you everything you need to know to start a podcast on a budget. By the end of this episode, you'll be well on your way to creating a fantastic podcast that will engage and entertain your listeners.

 And remember, you can join my online course to gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to create, produce, and market your podcast to the world. If you're just getting started, the link is in the show notes. I'll go to Seven Million Bikes dot com. [00:03:00] Let's get started. And if anyone's thinking, oh, we'll do an episode about podcasting on a budget, this guy's definitely Scottish.

It's true. Hey everyone, Brian here, You see my guest today, Niall Mackay, runs Seven Million Bikes.

Brian Biedenbach: It's a podcast production company that operates outta Saigon in Vietnam. It's an amazing story. I can't wait to share that with you let's jump into today's episode of Good Podcasting with Niall Mackay. From Seven Million Bikes.

Hey there, and welcome to. Good podcasting, the show designed to help you create, launch, and grow your podcast. My name's Brian and today I have a guest literally from the other side of the world. I'm really excited to, to introduce you to Niall Mackay, the podcast guy, lemme tell you a little bit about him before.

I bring him on. Uh, he's a podcast host, he's a producer and he's founder of Seven Million Bikes, which I'm excited to learn more about today. And now he's starting a business to [00:04:00] help other people start their podcasting journey. Very similar. We talked beforehand to what we're doing here on good podcasting.

Let me introduce you to Niall Mackay, the podcast guy Niall, welcome to good podcasting. How are you?

Niall Mackay: I'm very, very good. Thank you so much for having me on an awesome introduction.

Brian Biedenbach: Yeah, well, you know, it, it's been fun. Like again, we talked for just a few minutes before recording and it's been fun getting to know you.

Um, people might be a little confused when I tell them that you are in Vietnam and they hear, is that a Scottish accent? ?

Niall Mackay: Yeah, I'm a Scotsman in Vietnam. Via, via the us then Australia, then New Zealand, then Vietnam. So, uh, You've been

Brian Biedenbach: all over the place. Yeah. Yeah. Where do you call home at this point then?

Is it

Niall Mackay: Vietnam? For the longest time it was still New Zealand, but now it is Vietnam. Yeah. We're kind of, uh, Yeah. Vietnam's home for the moment, but it's never, it's not permanent.

Brian Biedenbach: Sure. Okay. So [00:05:00] all the places you've traveled, have you picked up little bits and pieces of accent from every place? Because I hear it really strong Scottish, and I didn't know, like when you talked to people back in Scotland, are they like, what happened to your accent?

Niall Mackay: Yeah. Oh, the last time I went home, I saw my, my best friend, you know, grew up with him, hadn't seen him in years, and as soon as he walked in I was like, ah, hey Gary. How are you doing? Good to see you. And he looked at me and he said, You don't need to talk to me like I don't speak English

And because living in Vietnam, I, I am very used to speaking to non-native speakers speak, who do speak English, but it's a second language, so I slow everything down. I, uh, I, you know, you have to downgrade your language in terms of what you say, like the, the vocabulary you use. Sure. And the grammar you use just to make sure that people can understand you.

But even, I mean, after living in the States, you guys cannot hear accents. Like, when I lived in America, I would walk up to people and you know, I'd say things [00:06:00] like, Hey, how you doing? What's the weather gonna be? What's the weather gonna be like today? And they'd be like, yeah. That, that, that's not the answer to that question.

Like it's, it's not a yes or no answer . So that, that was really common. You know,

Brian Biedenbach: I think sometimes we're just caught off guard by the accent and we're like, I don't know what he said, but that sounded beautiful. just dumbfound

Niall Mackay: the accent. Yeah, they love the accent. Absolutely love it, but don't understand it at all.

And America is such a big country. It, it, you don't have a huge amount of accents. You're not ex, cuz I mean like, you know, in Europe or in the uk Yeah. You just hear accents left, right, and center. Whereas in America you don't really get exposed to that many accents. Yeah. So when people would hear mine, they would just, one, get really excited and two have no idea what I was saying.

So I would have to, you know, even in America, and even now I teach English, I have to put on an American accent when I teach a lot of the times. Okay. Because some of the words, some of the words I [00:07:00] say like last week. . See, I just slipped between American and Scott. I said last week, I said to my students, add up the total.

The total. What did I said it? See, sometimes I can't even understand what I'm saying. I said, add up the total. And my students looked at me with a blank face and I was like, the total add up. And the student was like, and I was like, oh, total add up the total. And I put on an American accent, and as soon as I put on an American accent, they're like, oh, the total.

Oh, okay. And.

Brian Biedenbach: You know, it's funny, um, we don't, we have more dialects really, like we have little, slight little things. The way we say words in, you know, in Wisconsin is different than it is in, I grew up in Cincinnati and the way I say things my wife's like, that's totally like in Cincinnati, but I'll tell you.

When we hear an accent like yours, it's either, oh, he's either from England or Australia. Like, that's all we know, man. We can talk about accents all day. Damn. Probably we [00:08:00] shouldn't. Since we're talking about podcasting today, tell us you've got a couple podcasts going on, right? Tell us a little bit about which one you started with and then kind of how the, how that develop.


Niall Mackay: so what happened was obviously a massive podcast fan. It goes all the way back to which, uh, American listeners probably, maybe not too familiar with, but like way, way back when it was actually on an iPod before smartphones and everything. I listened to the Ricky Java Show, which was, was with Stephen Merchant Carl Pilkington.

It was the biggest podcast in the world. Podcasting had kind of like, was just at the birth of modern podcasting. Anyway,

Brian Biedenbach: that was kind of the first real big one, wasn't it? That was plus big one. Yeah. Yeah. I think I remember reading that recently.

Niall Mackay: Yeah. It was, uh, went, it was huge. Uh, I remember the time that like, this is the biggest podcast in the world.

It, it went crazy. I mean, if you've ever now seen carton's become kind of famous in his own right for a shows like an idiot abroad and things like that, so mm-hmm. always into podcasting with listen, when it was commuting. And then I, I did some research [00:09:00] on this a while ago. Um, and then now recently after what's happened, my research has been confirmed that.

It was the, the Serial podcast with Adnan Syed about, you know, the kinda True Crime podcast. Now he's been released, just recently, been released from jail. And I'd read articles that backed up. What I had thought was that that really was the watershed moment, and if you even look at Google Trends, podcasting had declined and then I think it's 2014 when that came out, it shot back up.

So that really like reinvigorated podcasting was the Yeah. Wow. The serial podcast. So I'd always been a big fan of the, the medium, listen to podcasts all the time. And then, um, my wife and I, our schedules changed, so we used to always have the same days off, and then suddenly she was working and I had a Sunday to myself.

Mm-hmm. And so I was just really bold and uh, you know, here in Saigon there's not a huge amount to do. There is if you look for it, but one of the most popular pastimes is just drinking beer. Cause it's uh, it's so cheap here to drink beer . [00:10:00] And, uh, I didn't wanna do that all day by myself on my day off, so I just kinda, yeah, one bold Sunday I was like, yeah, I should start a podcast.

And what it was being a teacher here in Saigon, that you meet lots of different English teachers. Uh, and they kind of does this almost like a phrase, like people say, oh, I'm just an English teacher. What do you do here? I'm just an English teacher. Mm-hmm. And I found that really like disparaging because the more I learned about just an English teacher, they all had something like you, like a designer or a singer or an was, um, or a comedian.

And so I was like, I want to get to know these people. I wanna share their stories. about who they really are more than just an English teacher. Mm-hmm. . And so that's kinda where it started from. I was like, right. I, I think probably like most podcasters, you're like, yeah, I'll start a podcast. And then you're like, oh, what do I do?

Like, what do, how do I, how do I do that? Right. So, you know, had to research all the things that you need to start a podcast. [00:11:00] And, um, so that from there, then that started, it was originally called a Saigon podcast. Uh, well, Seven Million Bikes a Saigon podcast, which was a really large name. and Seven. Million.

Bikes came because I just read an article saying that this will blow your mind. Saigon has about 10 million people and there at that time, were over 7 million registered motorbikes in the city. So it's got one of the highest, yes. Okay. Just if you go out here, there's just motorbikes like everywhere. Left, right in San.

That's how people get around. Yeah, I mean, cars, it's, this is a growing economy, so in the six years I've been here, cars are more prevalent and more normal, but still a heck of a lot of motorbikes. So, Uh, Seven Million. Bikes just, I was like, oh, that's a fun name. So I, so I came up with that. Um, and then, so the, their initial goal was to interview people in Saigon, and then just through Natural Evolution, I started to interview guests overseas, um, that were Vietnamese American or Vietnamese, Swiss Vietnamese, German.

I got [00:12:00] introduced to some really cool people, and so, And then I looked at the listenership and the listenership was in America and in Hanoi, and it was not just based in Saigon. So after I think a year, uh, I changed the name to a Vietnam podcast to be more reflective. And then a little bit later I dropped the Seven Million Bikes, and that became more of the overall brand.

Okay. So it was like a Vietnam podcast by Seven Million Bikes rather than Seven, Million Bikes. Because as well, you know, you're learning all the time. I think somebody said to me, Seven Million, Bikes doesn't really mean anything. Like it's not obvi as a podcast. It's not obvious what the show is about.

It's sure. Yeah. A little internal joke for me. You know, I like these quirky things. So I dropped that and then, um, But, and it just kind of like, you know, it didn't, it didn't blow up like, you know, top 1% of podcasts in the world. But like, and then, and then again, I'm sure you've maybe talked about this before.

You see the most common question podcasters always ask is like, how are my numbers? Like what should I be aiming for? What's a good show? Right? And I, I had the same thing all the time. I was [00:13:00] looking at my numbers and I'm like, I don't, I don't, I have no idea what these mean. Are these good? And then eventually I found some.

And I was like, wow, I'm in like the top 2010 to 20% of podcasts in the world. Like these are great numbers. Like so. Um, which, uh, we're probably like, I think my biggest episode is over 500 downloads. Okay. Generally those pretty consistent, which I've always been proud of. Like my, uh, I see people post about how they get really inconsistent numbers.

My numbers have just always been like clockwork, like interesting. Between 150. Yeah. Normally about 150 to 200, um, in the first seven to 14 days, which is another thing I try and tell people. It's the, the first seven day downloads is, is really all you need to be looking at. Um, so, so it was good. So then once I realized that it was doing really well and I was like, wow.

And then, you know, the, the, over the last year or so, especially, I meet more and more people that are like, oh, I listened to your podcast, which still blows my mind. I, I have this really weird thing, I don't know if [00:14:00] you have this, where, . We sit and we make this thing, and right now it's just me and you talking.

Right? There's no one else around us. And then we put it out to the world for people to listen to. Right. And then I, then I get surprised when someone listens. I'm like, wait, oh, you listen, . Oh,

Brian Biedenbach: you too . And it's, it's not mom, it's not my mom. You know, .

Niall Mackay: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. So like, yeah, when I, even to this day when I meet someone, they're like, oh, hey, I'll listen to your podcast.

I'm like, Oh, you listen to me. That's so weird. Yeah. You hear my, like you, how much you, you know so much about me. Like I talk about my wife a little bit, not much, but like, she comes into the conversation, I'm like, you know a lot about my life

Brian Biedenbach: and it's, yeah. I think so. Not to cut you off there, I, I want to hear more, but I do think you hit on a really important point that I try and tell people as their starting podcast is, uh, you know, as you develop your content, your content's one thing, but your listener gets to know you like, They, the content gets 'em there, but it's really you and your personality and your voice that [00:15:00] you know, you talk about, you're real, you're authentic.

You talk about things that are going on in your life and they get to know you and they want to hear the way you think, what you think about the next thing, or they trust you. You know, I like the last three guests you brought on. I'm gonna like this next one. Right? And so they get to know you because all they do is hear your.

And it's, that's why I love this medium too. It's, you know, people feel connected with you as a host simply by your voice no matter what accent you're speaking in. Right. .

Niall Mackay: Yeah. And, and it, you know, like, and it's something I, I struggle with still because, so I never started. This to, to be quote unquote famous.

I didn't do this to put myself out there. I did this to share stories of people, and my goal has always been to put the guest front and center. So if you look at a Vietnam podcast, you wouldn't find my picture at all unless I was the guest. Then there's a couple of episodes where I've switched roles and been the guest, but it's always the picture of the guest on the front of the episode.

Um, I've always promoted them. [00:16:00] If you look at any of the content I put out, like the mini content, things like this, it's, it's never me. It's always the guest. . Mm-hmm. . And then over time I realized exactly what you just said there. I realized that people are tuning in for me cuz I'm 50% of it. I mean, to be honest, if you, uh, when I interview someone, I'm, I'm probably speaking 10% of the time.

Right. So that was the other thing. I'm like, I'm not talking all the time, I'm presenting the guest, but like you said, yeah. People are tuning in to hear me and my voice and hear what I have to

Brian Biedenbach: say. Now you've done the, the Vietnam podcast and that's people, you're interviewing people who have been connected to the country, um, specifically, is that correct?

Niall Mackay: Yeah. I mean, and that was something that developed over time. Originally, like I mentioned, it was a Saigon podcast. It was just people who lived here. Um, and then as it developed, you know, you're always trying to, and learning as well from people like Pat Flynn and you're like, well, what is the point of this?

What is the hook of this podcast? What is it about? You know? Yeah. So that kind of eventually became, I realized, okay, so this podcast. Shares stories of people connected to [00:17:00] Vietnam, which then encompasses, um, expats like myself. It encompasses Vietnamese Americans who live all the seas who've never lived in Vietnam, but they have a, they have a Vietnam story to share.

I've interviewed Vietnamese, Swiss. People. Um, so sharing stories of people connected to Vietnam means that I can talk to anyone, but the, but the premise is they have to have a connection to Vietnam. You have a

Brian Biedenbach: second podcast, you said you're a comedian as well. That's another side gig or main gig that you do.

Uh, and I think your other podcast, I haven't had a chance to listen to that one very much yet. Um, but it's, I forget the name of it, but it's a, it's a comedy podcast, correct? Mm-hmm. . Okay. Yep,

Niall Mackay: that's right. So that one's called, did that really happen? And so not long after I started doing podcasting, then I started doing comedy and then that kind of snowballed as well.

So that was part of the kind of Seven, Million, Bikes story. I started doing events and comedy and stuff like that as well. And so I think, I think this will be quite interesting to you and your listeners. This was and still is a bit of a side project, and the main goal with this one [00:18:00] was how quickly can I make a podcast?

Brian Biedenbach: Okay. You were just trying to

Niall Mackay: do it fast. Yeah, because I a Vietnam podcast, I spent so much time making the editing perfect. The sound, the, the i, I go through so much to try and make it, you know, hit every mark. The intro, the main bit, the outro, right. Um, I had, I had the music made by my friend. I did a lot of pro.

I just, I did, and I still do a lot of promotion online, on social media. And basically, yeah, I was just like, how quick and easy can I make a podcast? And then, so the concept is before I ever started doing comedy, And I'm sure most people are the same. When you hear a comedian tell a joke on stage, whatever the story is or how crazy it is, I would always think, did that really happen

And when I would meet comedians after the the show, sometimes I would often meet them and I would be like, did that really happen? And most of the time the answer was yes. Uh, you know, and the comedians would just be like, there's no way I could make that up. Like, I'm not [00:19:00] that creative. Like, you know, and I realized about my own comedy as well.

One of the things, I mean, mostly what I do as well, you maybe something, just one tiny thing happens and then you're like, okay, I'm gonna, I can make a story from this. And then three things happen, and then you put them all together and suddenly you have a joke that right. comes from there. So I just love the concept and I wanted to do a comedy podcast.

I, well, it was kind of because I was doing comedy shows and podcasts again, just thinking all the time, I'm like, right, how can I bring these two things that I love together? And then I was like, oh, a comedy podcast.

Brian Biedenbach: Let's talk for just a moment about, you mentioned your microphone and trying to figure, that's kind of the first step for a lot of people, right?

Is I want to start a podcast. What do I need? To do that. And so when I started, I, I've told the story a number of times on this podcast, so I won't go into it, but I, we just bought the cheapest microphones we could find, the cheapest mixer we could find, knowing that we probably didn't even need that. Um, and we learned how to use it cuz I invited a co-host that I thought knew how to do all that stuff and he didn't.

And [00:20:00] so he, and. We're both learning along the way. So what did you start with and have you outgrown that stuff? Are you still using the same, same microphone and headset and all that stuff?

Niall Mackay: Yeah. Yeah, man, thank you so much for having me on. I get so excited to talk about this stuff. It's so weird, isn't it?

You're like, man, yeah, I'm excited to talk about this. Um, No. So yeah, almost the exact same. Uh, I'm Scottish. We have a reputation for being cheap . That is a v very true reputation. I, I'm very cheap. I try and do things for as cheap as possible. I don't like spending money. I don't like investing money if I don't have to.

Mm-hmm. , especially if you're starting something like a podcast, I'm not. You know, I see some people post all their equipment and I'm like, where do you get the money for all of this? Like, I don't have like the money lying about to just go and spend $500 on a mic and a mixer and all of this stuff. Mm-hmm.

So it's always, and even to this day still, it's like, how can I make this? This has always been my mantra. How can I do this as good as I can? With the budget that I have, which is generally not very much. Right, right. [00:21:00] Yeah. So I started off with, uh, and also at this point, and I'm gonna mention him a few times, I need to give a massive shout out to my friend Louis Wright.

So he's actually a music producer, audio engineer. Very fortunate to meet him here in Saigon and become friends with him. He has literally held my hand through every step of the way, even today, like he's helped me out, which we can talk about challenges. He's helped me out with a challenge like today, and this is three years after we started.

So, oh man, I, I, I probably wouldn't be anywhere. I wouldn't even be making podcasts without him. So a massive, massive thank you to to Louis Wright. So I started with the Blue Yeti, um, garage band on my, on my MacBook. Mm-hmm. . He came over, he set up all the dials on it, all the, the hair. I have no idea what he was doing.

He set up everything to try and make it sound as good. He taught me. The thing that I still learned to this day is cover all the shiny surfaces. Uh, the audio bounces off the walls and the windows and the floors and, you know, so you wanna try and make it [00:22:00] sound again? I'm just recording in my front room so it's not a studio.

It's just, let's try, let's try and make it sound as good as we can. With

Brian Biedenbach: what we have, and the Blue Yeti picks up a lot.

Niall Mackay: A lot, which I didn't realize. I didn't know anything about

Brian Biedenbach: microphones at the time. I didn't either when I bought mine, and that's why I'm not using it right now. ,

Niall Mackay: I'm not using mine because it broke and I've never been able to get it fixed.

But that's another matter. Okay, so, um, Yeah, so we recorded and him and his wife came over and I was like, well, let's do a test episode. So I, I interviewed her, she's Vietnamese, but she'd lived in the, in the UK for seven years. And that was my first time ever interviewing someone. And, uh, Uh, I really enjoyed it.

I think one of my skills as an interviewer is being able to ask kind of difficult questions without, like, it's not, I never, it's never like a gotcha moment. Right. But I'm prepared to ask like, something, this may be a little bit tricky. So for her, like, I remember for example, it was like, have you, did you ever experience racism in the UK while you were there?

You know, what was that, what did that look like? What happened? [00:23:00] Um, so we, we did a test in the living room with the blue yet, And then I was like, great, now let's go test it in the bedroom. So me and Louis moved into the bedroom. We put up, uh, like you guys call them comforters, right? Like we call them, I call 'em Yeah.

You guys call it comforter, right? Yep. We put up comforters all over the wind, all over the, all over the place. We put pillows up. Um, everywhere. Uh, we just sat across from each other. We put the blue yet closer and we just did both of those episodes as a test and they were so interesting and I enjoyed them so much.

I learned so much about my friends that I didn't know. They actually became episodes, so you can go back to season one. I think those were episodes two, two, and four. I think I remember off the top of my head. So then I went from the Blue Yeti to, again, massive shout out to Lewis. He then loaned me his Zoom H five audio recorder, Uhhuh , which you can plug XLR mics into.

But we, I was just using the capsule mic at the top, the by, it's like the bidirectional mic, like that. [00:24:00] And so again, just trying to do good mic technique set up between us and trying to make it sound as good as it can. But it wasn't great, but it was fine. Um, . I went back and listened to some episodes. I was like, oh geez, that audio sounded bad, you know?

And I mentioned to you before there was one episode where I'm pretty sure the microphone wasn't connected. So this would be my big tip to anyone, like do a test, because this episode was so interesting. And then when I went to listen to it, the audio was garbage. And I was like, I think that's picked up on the laptop make.

And this was. Three years ago on a 10 year old MacBook. So it's not like today the mics probably would be not too bad on your laptop. Right. But my mic, my mic was like garbage. So the whole episode was just, oh, no. Awful, awful, awful audio. But then, so yeah, move to the zoom and then, um, over the lockdown.

Period that we had during the pandemic. I just moved, moved to our headset cause I was doing all my interviews on Zoom and, and we can talk a little bit [00:25:00] about descript and DA Ws and I started using descript and I found this headphone was just like this. Not this headset, but the headset I had at the time was just lying about in the house.

So I just started using that. It was comfortable on my ears. It was so cheap. I could tell it was cheap, but the mic was fine cuz it was close to my mouth. Mm-hmm. . And then when I would edit it, the sound was good. So I was like, I'll just use this. I later googled the brand. It was like a $5 headset. Oh my word.

Yeah. And it was, and it was, the audio was fine, you know, and I was like, wow, . Um, and then it was, once we came out of lockdown, that's when I really started to, and again, not even invest. Um, borrow mostly, and again, shout to Lewis. Like this, this is his microphone I'm using right now. Okay. Um, he would just, because he's an, he's an audio engineer by trade.

Mm-hmm. and musician, uh, music producer, he has all this equipment. that he doesn't use. That's good to have friends like that. Yeah. So it's also like, you know, I'm not, there's not a, not a real need for me to go [00:26:00] out and buy all this equipment. Mm-hmm. when he's got a lying there not being used and, and he's happy for me to use it.

Like, if I wasn't using this right now, it would just be sitting in a box. Yeah. In his room. So he's been just honest. Honestly, I need to tell him to listen to this. I cannot thank him enough for everything He does everything he helps me with. He's shown me how to use all the equipment, and even now I still don't really know that much.

I have to message him all the time,

Brian Biedenbach: like Did you have any, not to cut you off, did you have any experience with it beforehand, before you started podcasting? No experience with audio editing. Okay. Zero.

Niall Mackay: Absolutely neither nothing. And yeah, and look at us now that, so I know, and in the last couple of days I've had that kind of imposter syndrome with, uh, I've, I've finished this course and I'm like, what have I done?

Why have I made this course? I spent nine months making it. What, who am I like even meeting people like yourself and I, I read a bit about your, your website and your bio, and I'm like, man, this guy knows way more than me. Like, I should not have a course . Like, what am I doing? But I do [00:27:00] remember the reason that the motivation to start, it was like we talked about someone who like me three years ago, who knew ab, who there are people who knows zero.

And my motivation was okay, I don't know everything. I, I'm not the, I'm not, I don't know everything about everything, right? But I know a lot and I've learned a lot and I know enough to share. And so that was the motivation is, okay, I'm gonna put down what I. into a course and then share that with people.

So, so now, um, just to go back to what I said, you know, just do it for as cheap as you can. Um, the best you can. One thing I say in my course as well, it is a journey. You'll get better over time. Maybe your budget will increase. You can buy a new microphone, right? The biggest thing is to just do it. Don't wait until you have everything.

Don't wait until you have the perfect studio and all the perfect equipment. Yep. Get started there. There's a little bit of me, uh, I'm, you know, an environmentalist at heart that why would I buy something new if. If it already exists, then I can borrow it. Like, let's not, let's not consume and create more products when we don't [00:28:00] have to.

You know? So there's a, there's a little part,

Brian Biedenbach: it's almost like you don't live in the United States, Niall. Because that it is, I feel like it's a different attitude here. . Yeah, maybe.

Niall Mackay: I think so. We,

Brian Biedenbach: yeah, maybe. So , let's talk about some of the challenges you faced. And I know we're kind of running out of time here, so we don't have a ton of time, but we, you know, as a podcaster, there's always challenges.

What are some of the challenges that you faced, uh, that you've learned the most from in this journey of, what'd you say, the last three years or so?

Niall Mackay: Mm. Three years. Yeah. I mean, yeah, equipment is one. Just last week and I went to set up the microphones before I recorded my client and one of them wasn't working and I had to, you know, troubleshoot it.

Message Lewis. I was, message Lewis. I was like, what? What's happening here? Like, I sent my video, I was like, why is this not working? Eventually figured out the cable wasn't working, which was the last thing I expected that the cable wouldn't work. But that was it. And it made me realize, you know what? I think in any industry, um, You often is you're paying for experience.

So if someone hires you or hires [00:29:00] me, it's a shortcut, right? Because you can't, you only figure these things out with experience because you've made the mistakes, right? And then you're like, oh, that's what happened last time. So this is probably what it is this time. So equipment has been, uh, is always a challenge, even man, even just a few episodes ago for a Vietnam podcast, I didn't press record.

On the audio recorder, which is my worst nightmare, like every podcast's worst nightmare. Thankfully I had recorded it on my camera. I'd set up a tripod with my camera cuz. So I don't really post on YouTube, but again, for the micro content, I just take these little clips and post them. But the sound quality obviously on your phone, which is about three feet away from you.

isn't as good. So that was a massive challenge, was then trying to make that audio listenable and that mm-hmm. was a night that was just a nightmare. Like it was just such a nightmare. I thought I'd solved it. I thought the audio was good. Then I, then I shared it. I shared the teaser and my wife is always, she's my, one of [00:30:00] my super fans.

She listens to every episode. She messaged me. She's like, I couldn't listen to that. It was so bad. I was like, oh, had to unpublish it, go and fix it again. So as soon as we come off this call, I literally had this, it's what I need to try and fix this pro. I still, I couldn't, like in my sleep last night, I'm like, how do I fix this?

So these are the kind of challenges and the problems that you have on an ongoing basis, I think. But, but it's fun as well at the same time. I've

Brian Biedenbach: also recently not recorded an episode, so I feel your pain there. I was teaching, just real quick story, was teaching a podcasting course like a two week unit at a local high school here in our area and to to end the course.

Every student was like writing about one of their most memorable life changing moments in their past, and I got to interview them. Well we are editing recording into Garage band on an iPad. Cause that was the devices they have in the school. And I've never really edited or used an iPad garage band on my, on an iPad.

So I was teaching myself at the [00:31:00] time. So this kid tells this gut wrenching story of when his dad left when he was just a, a little kid. Tried to come back into his life when he was a teenager and just all these painful memories. And I looked at the, the iPad and I went, I, you know what? I am so sorry. I, we hit record, but one of the settings only recorded like the first 15 seconds of his whole story.

And I went, man, I hate to do this to you. Are you willing to tell your story again? And it was only five minutes. You didn't, I did. It was only five minutes. These were really short episodes. Um, but I'll tell you what, man, as a side note to that, he told me, You, I think podcasters have to be good storytellers.

I think it's very similar. I was picking this up as you were talking about your comedy too. I think comedians and podcasters have to be great storytellers and uh, so that was one of the things that I picked up from him too, is he told me the facts the first time and the second [00:32:00] time he went into great detail about what he remembers about what his dad was wearing.

walked away that first, and I was like, oh, this is so great. Like, I'm sorry you had to tell this, but the story just got really, really real in that moment. So anyway. All that to say, that was my most recent, uh, failure. Uh, and I feel your pain about not recording and, you know, the audio stuff. Well, Niall, it's been a pleasure talking to you today. Um, I love what you're doing. I love your humor.

I love the, you know, the fact that you have, are helping others do what you love to do. And I think that's a passion we share. Uh, Being passionate about something and wanting to teach others how to do it. So thanks again for being on here. Where can people find you? You mentioned your email address. Niall Seven Million Bikes dot com.

Where else can people find you on social media?

Niall Mackay: Yeah, uh, well you go Seven, Million Bikes podcasts. And then also just go to the website. I'm [00:33:00] really proud of that.

That was a, a lockdown project for me, my friend. He's like, I'll help you. I'll build a website for you. And I was like, oh, cool. And then he basically just made the empty shell. It's like someone giving you an empty house and then like a brick house with no paint, no nothing, and be like, Hey, I made a house for you.

And you're like, okay, but now I have to do everything to make it right. a house. So I had to learn how to build a website basically. Um, but that, that's, that's evolved as well. But I'm really proud of that. So go to Seven Million Bikes dot com. You'll find the blog on there, um, links to the shows, links to the course, things like that.

So that's the easiest way to get in touch.

Brian Biedenbach: Fantastic. Niall, thanks again. This has been a pleasure. Niall Mackay, the podcast guy. Thanks for

Niall Mackay: being here. Thank you so much. It's been amazing. I really appreciate it.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Smarter Podcasting by Good Podcasting, and Brian beaten back so massive. Thank you to Brian for having me on this show and then letting me share that with you. I hope it helped break down any barriers you have about starting a podcast. Gave you [00:34:00] some inspiration to start one or even any helpful information if you already have one.

 If you do want to start your own podcast but don't know where to start, then join my online course, how to Start your Podcast, get your voice out and share your story. I'll take you from a podcast beginner to an expert in just one week. With step-by-step guidance, personalized support, and a community of like-minded podcasters, you'll gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to create, publish, and Grow a successful podcast.

You will get a podcast masterclass in 23 tutorials and over three hours of video content covering everything from the fundamentals of podcasting to audio editing, what podcast equipment to use, and social media marketing. So your new podcast will build a loyal audience. The course will also include guidance on how to monetize a podcast and potentially turn it into a profitable business.[00:35:00]

You'll also get a whole host of extras, templates for sure, notes a prep form for guests and checklist for software. This is an amazing podcast course for beginner podcasters. The link is in the show notes, or go to my website, Seven Million Bikes dot com.

My goal is to provide you with insights and knowledge on a wide range of topics, and I appreciate your support, so please feel free to leave a review. Let me know what you think, and don't forget to subscribe for future episodes.

Thank you again for tuning in and I'll see you on the next episode.


Key Times To Listen To

00:04:42 Travel to learn accents
00:09:52 Start a podcast instead of drinking
00:14:48 Be authentic and real
00:15:02 Start a podcast to share stories
00:24:13 Test your microphone connection
00:28:55 Experience is essential for success
00:34:08 Start a podcast to share your story
00:34:21 Start a successful podcast

Start podcasting on a budget

Podcasting is becoming increasingly popular and is a great way to share stories and connect with an audience. However, many people are put off by the belief that podcasting requires expensive or complicated equipment. Fortunately, this is not the case and with a little bit of creativity and smart purchasing decisions, you can start a high-quality podcast without breaking the bank. 

Niall Mackay, the founder of Seven Million Bikes Podcasts, is a great example of this. He started his first podcast in 2019 with a 2010 MacBook Pro, the free software that’s included called GarageBand, and a Blue Yeti USB mic that he bought for $100. Despite not having a studio, headphones, a good laptop or much knowledge of what to do, he was passionate about his subject and excited to share the stories of his guests. 

Now, Niall produces three of his own podcasts and makes shows for people around the world. He has achieved great success, with his podcast having been listened to around the world, breaking 50,000 downloads, and putting A Vietnam Podcast in the top 10% of podcasts worldwide. 

So, if you’re interested in creating your own podcast but don’t have a lot of money to spend on equipment, there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to record a great podcast on a budget. Firstly, you don’t need to buy the most expensive equipment. Invest in a good quality microphone and a laptop that can handle the software you need. Secondly, you don’t need to have a studio. You can record in a quiet room or even outside. Thirdly, you don’t need to buy expensive software. GarageBand is free and is a great starting point. Finally, you don’t need to be an expert. With a little bit of research and practice, you can learn how to create a great podcast. 

So, if you’re ready to start podcasting on a budget, you can do it! With a little bit of creativity and some smart purchasing decisions, you can create a high-quality podcast that will engage and entertain your listeners.



Year established





Top 10%


Get Your Voice Out and Share Your Story

From planning your content to monetizing your podcast, Niall covers everything you need to know to create and grow your own successful podcast. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the technical side of things, don’t worry – Niall’s got you covered with his comprehensive course, Get Your Voice Out and Share Your Story.

But it’s not just about creating a podcast for Niall – it’s about making a difference. He’s helped businesses like Delta MV reach high-value customers and individuals like Dee share important stories through their own successful podcasts.

So if you’re ready to take the leap into the world of podcasting, follow Niall’s advice and listen to Smarter Podcasting. Have a look at our past projects for more inspiration and resources.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Niall’s shows for future episodes.

In the words of Niall Mackay himself, “My mission is to help you on your podcasting journey, whether you’re at the beginning, the middle, or the end. So I hope these episodes can provide lots of interesting information for you.”

Thanks for listening to this brand new show, Smarter Podcasting. I’m Niall Mackay, the podcast guy and founder of Seven Million Bikes Podcasts. 

I’m a podcast fanatic, stand-up comedian, and teacher. My mission is to help you on this podcast journey with me!

Don’t let fear, lack of knowledge, or technical barriers hold you back any longer. Take the first step towards creating a successful podcast that reaches and resonates with your audience.

With my comprehensive course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about starting, recording, editing, and publishing your podcast. Plus, you’ll gain access to exclusive tips, tricks, and strategies that will help you stand out from the crowd and grow your audience.

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Niall Mackay, The Podcast Guy

Start Your Podcasting Journey

If you’re ready to start your own podcast or take your existing podcast to the next level, this podcast course is for you!

Don’t wait any longer to share your voice and message with the world through podcasting.

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