The world is full of get rich quick schemes. But in the internet age, it really is possible to earn big bucks without getting a boring old job: just ask Youtube stars like Zoella, who's worth more than Sh290 million (£2million). So what if, like me, you're too unsightly to bare your face to the world but still fancy a bit of internet fame?
The answer, I'm told whilst strapping on a pair of headphones in a Soho recording studio, is to start recording a podcast. It might sound like the sort of thing your grandparents did back in the early noughties, but podcasts are having a bit of moment just now, driven by the success of shows like Serial, which told the story of the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999.
Adam Martin, global content director of a company called Acast which is known as the "Spotify of podcasting", wanted to show me how easy it was to record a quick radio show and then broadcast it over the internet. Better still, he reckons there's a way of earning a million quid a year, if you're any good - and very lucky.
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"To walk away with that sort of money, you'll need about 750,000 regular listeners," he tells me, neatly dashing my dreams of easy superstardom. In the UK, that is pretty significant." Acast brought me to the studio with my friend Greg, to record the first (and potentially last) episode of a series called Lost London, which explores the lost history of the capital.
We decided to talk about the London Post Office Railway (pictured below), a forgotten toy town tube train which once delivered post through the capital through tiny tunnels. Neither of us are professionals by any stretch of the imagination, although I used to speak on a radio station for the blind to offer advice on weekend activities - and invariably flub it by recommending visual arts exhibitions or events which required looking at things.
So with little experience and even less preparation, we muddled through our first recording, helped along by the experts at Acast and a professional recording engineer. I even wrote a (pretty rubbish) piece of music to serve as an introductory "audio sting", sampling the sounds which remind me of the capital.
Having someone else to help you record it made the whole thing a bit easier, because you can just focus on blabbing, rather than trying to record it at the same time. Research probably helps too, as I just wandered into the recording studio having done little more than flick through a Wikipedia page (we apologise for any inaccuracies in advance). But most important piece of advice I would give is to keep it simple.
Greg and I had grand ambitions of recording a follow up about Bedlam - London's famous lunatic asylum - only to end up confused, unable to work out how to cover on its epic 1,000-year history and, inevitably, a little bit drunk. If dreaming up an idea, packaging it correctly and then trying to woo one million listeners sound impossible, then take some small comfort from Adam's prediction that podcasts are going to grow in popularity.
"Audio is the theatre of the mind," he says. "It gives people a sense of intimacy you don't get with video. When people are crammed onto a tube train, they want to be engaged with something they are passionate about and then dip into it for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. A new generation are jumping on podcasts."
To make the big bucks, Adam continues, podcasters need to make sure they get two sponsorships as well adverts at the beginning and end. Acast works by sharing advertising revenue with its users, who use it to store their podcast and share them with other members of the community. "You need to think very carefully about the format," he advises. "You can't just assume people will listen, so you need to think about the rapport between the hosts as well as the subject matter."