Continuing education is one of the most important aspects of career development. If you don’t continuously learn about what you do, it’s very easy to get left behind. These days, podcasts are one of the easiest ways to do that. And if you’re a freelancer, podcasts are an invaluable asset — both in terms of cost and time.
Whether you work at home or in an office (or a home office!), I would be willing to bet that at some point during your day, you chill out and zone in wearing headphones. You blast music, or maybe even listen to podcasts already. But I want to challenge you to not only listen to the WTFs and S-Towns out there, but also the productivity and freelancer podcasts that can give you added insight into pretty much everything you do.
Starting out our list comes the podcast with the title that each and every one of us can relate to. Brian Clark walks us through everything that we need to know to succeed when we are working on our own. From marketing to creative uses of our time, Unemployable hits at the heart of what most of us who have ever thrust off the 9-to-5 can relate to (and need to know.
2. The Tim Ferris Show
Maybe one of the most famous podcasts out there, The Tim Ferris Show runs the gamut of what self-employed freelancers want to listen to. You will hear from self-made business-people and success stories. You will get tips and hacks for what you can do to improve your own skills and up your game, and what’s best about it is that Tim doesn’t offer up a lot of one-in-a-million advice. Everyone can gain something from him and apply it to their own professional (or personal) life.
3. Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income grabbed my attention years ago because of its focus on, well, passive income. While there is a focus on passive income, Pat really hits on the importance of working hard to make things happen. He talks about tried-and-true methods that have worked for him in the past, and he brings on guests that have experience in a multitude of fields. Probably the most unique thing about SPI is how he shares his income and does in-depth case studies to show exactly what works and what doesn’t for people who want to emulate his tactics.
4. The Science of Social Media
I have learned a lot from this podcast. Not only do I love the product that Buffer makes, but their content is also top-notch. The Science of Social Media really gives you an insight into what’s working and what isn’t in the realm of social media marketing. Not an overly long show, most episodes come in well under half an hour, which means that you get the good stuff without any of the fluff. When you’re a freelancer, your time is valuable, so this one is a great way to get some new insights quickly and easily. Your social marketing will definitely improve.
5. Reply All
I love the internet. You love the internet. Pretty much everyone loves the internet. Which is why Reply All exists. Named after the most dreaded thing of inboxes everywhere, this podcast covers the cool stuff about the internet that we all experience and want to (or need to) learn about. From who gets caught with phishing scams to creating involuntary (or voluntary) communities around a topic or person, the topics are wide and varied, but focused on us. Of all the freelancer podcasts out there, this one should be listened to by anyone who spends their time online. That’s probably you.
6. Masters of Scale
Masters of Scale sums up what they are far better than I can. It’s almost like they’re professionals or something.
“Masters of Scale is an original podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn and Investor at Greylock. In each episode, Reid shows how companies grow from zero to a gazillion, testing his theories with legendary leaders. Masters of Scale is the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for guests. It won the 2018 People’s Voice Webby for Best Business Podcast.”
When I started freelancing, CodeNewbie was the resource I used to psyche myself up into doing it. Listening to the stories of other people who left careers and moved into tech really hit home with me. And once you dig deeper, you will find a great community on Slack and on Twitter that are full of other people who are very passionate about working in tech, learning to code and become developers, and help each other out. They even do episodes on things like how to get involved in open source projects, what good UX looks like (through the eyes of YouTube Gaming, for example), and what you need to know about working in the web dev fields right now. Go listen. It may be my personal favorite of all the freelancer podcasts I’ve listened to.
8. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
I am listing Happier here for one primary reason: this podcast gave me the best advice I’ve ever been given, and it changed the way I worked as a freelancer (and honestly, how I did stuff in my personal life). In one episode, Gretchen and her sister are talking, and I can’t remember which one said it, but they gave the advice of if you have a task that needs to be done, and it will take 1 minute or less to do it…just do it right then. It sounds simple (and it is), but it’s very hard to do.
It may be replying to an email or returning a call, or even getting up to refill your glass of water and stretch your legs or proofread a blurb before sending it off. The 60-second Rule has immensely changed how I work because it keeps tasks manageable, makes me productive, and honestly keeps my house a little cleaner (how long does it take to pick up all those clothes on the floor? Under 60 seconds, apparently.)
Happier is that kind of podcast. I think you’ll love it. I hope it makes you…happier.
9. 99% Invisible
Have you ever heard the saying that good design is ninety-nine percent invisible? Well, that’s where this podcast gets its name, so you’ll become familiar with it soon enough. While not entirely focused on web design, everyone can learn something from this show. They talk about how things work, why things work, and how we take for granted just how well-designed most of the things we use every day actually are. They have talked about flags on mailboxes and why door handles are shaped the way they are. You will become a better designer by listening to this one, and you will see the world in a whole new way each and every day. You’re welcome.
10. Business Wars
Business Wars is pretty neat. It takes a look at the behind-the-scenes goings-on of big businesses and their rivalries. As a freelancer or someone who is self-employed, you can glean a lot of good stuff from this show. While you may not be at the scale of Pepsi and Coke, there’s a kernel in there that applies to all businesses. Motivation and ambition and what separates the success stories from the failures.
11. The Good Life Project
A lot of us get into freelancing or becoming self-employed for one reason: to be (more) in control of our lives. That’s what The Good Life Project is about. It’s not a productivity podcast, and you may not necessarily get better at your job from listening to it. But you can definitely pick up some ideas on what you need to lead a happier, better life in general — and that in turn will make the freelancing go much, much better. A happy freelancer is…well, a happy freelancer. So go out and start living the good life, why don’t ya?
A list like this could go on and on and on. We really are in a golden age for podcasting, so we ought to capitalize on it. For those of you looking for freelancer podcasts, I think these will really get you started. There are oodles more out there. If you’re anything like me, you’ll start digging around for as many as you can find. So happy hunting and listening, my friends!