The realities of running a creative business in 2023 with Ellie Kime from The Business Proposal Podcast

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Lyzi Unwin
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If you’re an avid Studio Cotton blog reader, you might’ve heard of Ellie Kime and the podcast she records with her pal Rachel Emma Waring. It’s called The Business Proposal Podcast, and I reckon you should listen to it – bookmark that for after you’ve read this blog post.

Her podcast was featured in our post, 9 stellar small business podcasts handpicked by small business owners, and she kindly contributed to a more recent blog post too: 6 success-killing features of a bad podcast pitch.

Ellie is based in London, and started The Business Proposal Podcast with Rachel in January 2019, to fill a gap they saw in the market. They now have an impressive 165 episodes under their belt.

If The Business Proposal Podcast could be summed up in once sentence: Your small business owner pals discussing the realities of running a creative business in 2023.

Now, let’s dive into our chat with Ellie.


1. Why did you start The Business Proposal Podcast?

We originally started out as a wedding business-to-business podcast, because at the time we were both in the wedding industry, and Rachel (as an avid business podcast listener) had noticed a gap in the market for that very specific industry positioning.



2. “90% of podcasts don’t get past their 3rd episode” – what helped you to keep going?

Well we released our first 3 episodes all in 1, so I think that helped us get past 3 . But also, it’s genuinely so much fun, and we learnt so much from our brilliant guests right from the off, to stop would have felt like cutting our nose off to spite our face.


3. What benefits were you expecting to get from podcasting?

We expected to become better known in the industry, and that did happen!


4. What has been an unexpected business/commercial benefit of podcasting?

Some of the incredible collaborations we’ve been asked to do – we were asked to host/speak at a day created by the UK Pinterest team after we had them on The Business Proposal Podcast in March 2019.


5. How did you make your first £1 from podcasting?

Podcast sponsorship, which we offered straight from the beginning.



6. Where have you found the most success in monetising The Business Proposal Podcast?

Our biggest monetary success to date is the Business Proposal Bundle, which we created in April 2023 as a way of bringing together the wisdom of all of our brilliant previous guests.

Customers paid one price for access to all of the content our guests had made available, and it ended up being a £29 ticket for over £800+ worth of incredible business stuff. It felt like the perfect culmination of 4 years of podcasting so far.


7. Are there any ways you’ve tried to monetise your podcast that haven’t worked out?

We’ve been close to launching some stuff that hasn’t worked – we nearly did a range of merch, for example – but luckily we’ve been able to catch each other before it gets too far, to reassess and say “is this really what we need to be doing right now?”


8. What’s your least favourite thing about having a podcast?

If you don’t plan ahead well enough, there’s a lot of admin involved, and with 2 calendars to navigate (sometimes 3 or 4 calendars, depending on guests) it can get quite tricky to fit admin in.

We try and batch our episodes, but when this doesn’t happen because of #life, it can very quickly feel like a hamster wheel of content creation again, which is not where our best creative juices flow.



9. What aspects of your podcast production do you outsource or delegate?

None of them – Rachel edits the audio, and I do the show notes and uploading side of things. It works pretty well for us.


10. How long would you say it took for The Business Proposal Podcast to have a positive commercial benefit for you or your business?

I think it became clear to us quite quickly that people were finding us and booking us having found us via the podcast first – maybe a couple of months or so.


11. What is a really small thing you’ve done that has helped your podcast grow?

We used Headliner to make audiograms. It’s such a great free tool, which was especially good back in the day when Instagram went very video-first, very quickly. It allowed us to create good content that the algorithm would like.


12. What’s on the immediate horizon for The Business Proposal Podcast?

Season 5 BABY!


As recommended by you

We asked Ellie to recommend 3 people, organisations or resources that have helped her as a podcaster…

  1. Libsyn for hosting, because without it we wouldn’t have a podcast, lol.
  2. I wanna shout out Rachel, too, as my co-host; it really wouldn’t be fun if it wasn’t both of us doing it.
  3. The Bookshop.org affiliate scheme.



You can find The Business Proposal Podcast on their website, on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or wherever else you listen to your podcasts, and you call follow them on Instagram for regular updates too.


Photo by Joanna Bongard


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