Top Entrepreneur Podcasts PR Agencies Should Know

In the last ten years or so, podcasts have shot up in popularity, especially for PR agencies. Podcasts about entrepreneurism in particular can be a strong way for top executives and thought leaders to share their success stories and advice for budding business-builders. Every business leader has a strategy to share, and there’s a story behind nearly every company, young or old. 

Here at Crenshaw, we represent high-growth tech businesses, so these types of business are extremely useful. The entrepreneurial podcast space can be powerful. They are easy resources for listeners to reference as they are starting their own company or need inspiration on what they can do to propel an idea into a successful business.

In the past, we’ve recommended top retail podcasts PR pros should know for clients in relevant sectors. Here are six of the top entrepreneur podcasts for PR teams who want to secure meaningful  interviews in the podcast industry.  

Entrepreneurs on Fire

The award-winning podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas has over 3,000 episodes where he talks with successful founders and picks apart their entrepreneurial stories in a unique way. Episodes are released almost daily, aimed to inspire and educate would-be entrepreneurs. This is a strong choice for anyone looking for some inspiration to enhance their business or kick off an entrepreneurial journey. At the end of each episode, John asks his guests to share key takeaways for his listeners to use in their entrepreneurial journeys.

Recent Guests: Kevin Moran & Matt Lombardi (Founders of Beam, wellness company), Chad Willardson (Founder & President of Pacific Capital, wealth management firm), Cary Jack (Founder & author of The Happy Hustle podcast)

How I Built This 

“How I Built This” is a weekly podcast that offers insights about the most successful people in the world, with a focus on marketing and business. It’s a great listen for those who love hearing motivational stories from highly successful founders about the ups and downs of building a new business. The host, Guy Raz, uses an “everyman” persona to ask his guests the hard questions to understand what it takes for entrepreneurs to succeed. Plus, “How I Built This” features attention-grabbing openers with terrific theme music. It’s an upbeat way to start the day.

Recent Guests: Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora (Co-Founders of Back To The Roots, organic gardening company), Don Katz (Founder of Audible), Christina Tosi (Founder of Milk Bar)

This Week in StartUps

Hosted by angel investor Jason Calacanis, This Week in Startups focuses on the tech industry. Jason talks with some of the world’s greatest founders, innovators, operators and investors for in-depth conversations about their business journeys. This is the ideal podcast for those looking to start their own company, seeking strategies on how to improve their business or who just want to stay on top of tech industry and startup news. Calanis also explains to his listeners how angel investing works and how he builds his companies. Listeners will get inspiration from others’ success stories and gain helpful tips on how to keep their startup thriving. 

Recent Guests: David Bennahum (CEO of Ready Games, gaming app), Aaron Wright (Co-Founder of OpenLaw, blockchain-based protocol for legal agreements), Ryan Engle (Founder & CEO of Golf Scope, AR app)


Mixergy is a podcast that brings interviews with some big names, but mostly interviews with lesser-known companies. Given that host Andrew Warner interviews lesser-known founders and entrepreneurs, the stories are fresh and typically haven’t been heard before. Warner gives listeners a deeper insight into the successes and failures of some of the greatest thought-leaders today. The goal is to provide tips and strategies on how to succeed and face challenges that may arise when starting a business. 

Recent Guests: Craig Hewitt (Founder of Castos podcast and analytics), Sahil Lavingia (Author of The Minimalist Entrepreneur, How Great Founders Do More with Less), Kenny Schumacher (Founder of Delesign) 

Master of Scale

Hosted by co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, Master of Scale sets out to describe and prove theories that explain how some of the best entrepreneurs succeed. Hoffman and his guests talk about entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy, management and more. Guests share the stories and strategies that helped them grow their startups into well-known successful brands. Along with the success stories, guests share the failures and hardships they have faced as well and what they did to overcome them.

Recent Guests: Eric Schmidt (Former CEO of Google), Beth Ford (CEO of Land O’Lakes), John Foley (CEO of Peloton)

The Tim Ferriss Show

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the top-rated Business podcasts on Apple. In his episodes, Tim gets the inside scoop from world-class entrepreneurs on their strategies and tactics. This is an educational resource for budding entrepreneurs to listen to as they will hear real and raw conversations about succeeding. The podcast offers business tips, book recommendations, lifestyle hacks and fascinating exchanges. Tim gives his guest scenarios where things go awry and asks them how they, as an entrepreneur, would successfully get themselves out of that situation.

Recent Guests: David Blaine (Magician), Marco Canora (chef, restaurateur and television personality), Debbie Millman (Author, Designer, Host of Design Matters podcast)

Ten Lessons Of A PR Entrepreneur

Last weekend I had the honor of being part of an entrepreneurship panel at the annual Student Career Conference hosted by the New York Women in Communications Foundation. Some 300 students of media, PR, and communications gathered to network, learn, and be inspired by women who’ve made careers in the field. My panel featured an amazing lineup – life stylist and author Harriette Cole, beauty and style expert Jenn Falik, and Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra. It was a terrific discussion and a good time.

The conference also forced me to think about what I’ve learned in 15 years running my own firms, both with a partner, and, most recently as a sole owner. Here’s my list:

Know your business before you start it. Particularly in a creative service like PR, experience really counts. It pays to put in time at similar firms to gain experience and build contacts before starting your own. And why not learn on someone else’s dime?

All you really need is a client. I’ve talked to aspiring business-builders in PR and media who are very hung up on their own branding and marketing. Those things are important, and they’re fun. But in the beginning, you’re selling yourself. Just concentrate on getting one client to start.

Learn the business of business. As in, how companies make a profit. How products get to market, how a website is monetized, and, for PR, how brands are built and marketed. Just because you’re creative doesn’t mean you don’t have to understand your clients’ business. In fact, it’s all the more reason.

Ask for what you’re worth. It doesn’t pay to be shy about fees, or shrink from conversations around budget matters. Ironically, it’s often easier to stick to your fee levels when it’s not your own business, since the decision is out of your hands. But it’s even more important when building your own business.

Hire up. Never be afraid of hiring people smarter, better, or more talented than you. This is one thing I learned when at Edelman, which is today the largest independent PR firm. At times, it felt like they hired some individuals based purely on talent, then figured out later what to do with them. The point is not to be overly impulsive in hiring, but to look at talent as a long-term investment.

Take the long view. And not just when hiring. I used to gnash my teeth about losing a big pitch. But I can’t tell you how often a client who didn’t hire us has called back within the year to say things hadn’t worked out as they expected, and could we talk about working together? Try to learn something from every setback, and, above all, never burn bridges.

Manage your own reputation like you do your clients’. In the agency business we often become aligned with our clients. That’s why a sketchy company, or one who truly doesn’t understand your services, is nearly always a bad bet.

Ask for help. When I founded my second firm, I realized just how willing people are to help. The trick is in being specific about your needs (“could I ask for an introduction at X company?”) , and in doing so with the spirit of reciprocity.

Do it wrong (maybe), but do it quicklyMike Moran‘s famous call to action (Do It Wrong Quickly) is about experimentation and risk-taking. But, it’s become a mantra for me on prompt and proactive decision-making. Generally, it’s better to commit to something and regret it later than to never try something new, or worse, let key issues drift. And, after sharing responsibility with someone who had a painfully deliberate style on high-priority matters, I learned that a non-decision is a decision in itself. Usually a poor one.

“Fake it ’til you make it.” This was uttered by Jenn Falik and reiterated by nearly every panel member at the NYWICI Student Conference. The point is not that new business owners should be false or  misleading. It’s that when an opportunity comes, we should grab it, especially if it can push us to a new level of skill, challenge, and visibility. If the prospect scares you a little, maybe that’s a good sign.

Do Startups Really Need A PR Firm?

Brant Cooper’s indictment of PR firms for start-up businesses (Hey, Startups: Don’t Hire A PR Agency) has triggered another flurry of discussion about what should be expected from a professional public relations firm. I don’t agree with Cooper’s conclusions, but he makes some valid points. His argument is more well-reasoned than journalists’ complaints, and more relevant than the 2008 Jason Calcanis post calling for startups to fire their PR reps.

Here’s why. Over the years, I’ve worked with many startups with a wide range of needs, from brand positioning and messaging to business-building publicity. Most have been successful relationships. Yet, more than other clients, startups are prone to unrealistic expectations.

Expectations management is more important than results. When I hear, “We’re really counting on PR to drive demand, so we’re putting everything into our PR budget,” it doesn’t make me happy. It’s a red flag. Even the most brilliant PR program isn’t a replacement for a salesforce, marketing plan, or ad budget.

Startups are supposed to have lofty goals. All the more reason why it’s essential to define – and manage – them at the outset. Of course, this is true of any client-agency engagement, but startups are more passionate because they have to be. It’s their job. Which means that it’s our job is to make them see that PR is a better tool for brand visibility and positioning than demand generation. Those who expect to launch a consumer business fueled purely by publicity are often disappointed.

The founder is not the brand. This is where I think Calcanis and others get it wrong. An evangelistic founder is a huge asset, and he or she is usually the most credible media and analyst spokesperson. But, the founder’s vision is only the beginning. And, not every entrepreneur is the best person to sell his story. I’ve worked with those who are either too close or too emotionally invested to connect with media and understand their point of view. A press tour is not a road show.

PR doesn’t stand for press release. A newsstream should flow from the overall business and communications strategy, but the document itself is a commodity. If they’re hiring a PR team for press releases, it’s a waste of money.

Some startups should handle PR internally. It’s not possible  to generalize, but there are many companies – particularly early-stage ones, for whom PR is basically networking and fundraising. For them, a DIY approach can work well.

Finally, PR can’t overcome a mediocre product or flawed business plan.  If it could,  Webvan,, and would be household brands today instead of symbols of vaporized cash – and dreams.