Not too long ago, the prospect of being able to learn directly from the world's leading entrepreneurs and CEOs was just a pipe dream. If you weren't lucky enough to call that person a mentor or couldn't afford tickets to hear them speak at a conference, the chances of getting access to a leading business owner were slim. Now it's as simple as pressing play. As of April 2018, there are more than 18.5 million podcast episodes available to download, connecting you directly with some of the world's most fascinating experts for free. Not surprisingly, this is big news for those who are starting a business and looking to learn from the best. Ahead, we turned to 15 female founders to find out which career podcasts they subscribe to for advice and inspiration. These are the podcasts they listen to on repeat.
Eunice Byun, co-founder and CEO of Material
"My walk to the office is about 20 minutes long, so one of my favorite podcasts to listen to on my way in is WorkLife With Adam Grant. We spend so much time in the office, whether physically or mentally, so I love hearing Adam's observations and interviews on vastly different companies and what makes these places so great—all through the lens of organizational psychology.
"I loved the episode with Trevor Noah about creative collaboration, which he observed in the show's writing room. Adam basically spells out why group brainstorming is actually a terrible practice for a multitude of reasons. As a fast-growing company with a small team, the last thing we want to do is end up in inefficient meetings where the output is uninspired. It made me think about the type of culture that we want to continue to nurture at Material."
Stacie Brockman, creative co-founder of Métier
"How I Built This is literally the push notification I wait for daily, weekly, and monthly. I'm a huge nerd and make notes in my Notepad app as I listen to quotes I love. Howard Schultz, Marcia Kilgore, and the guys behind Warby Parker's episodes all gave me chills. One of the most valuable lessons I learned that stuck with me was from Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker who stressed the importance of doing two things and always having something on the back burner. It's easy to get excited at the prospect of something seemingly amazing, but it's important to also check yourself, your team, options, bandwidth, and Plan B if Plan A fails."
Nikki Barua, author and speaker
"The podcast I listen to most regularly is Masters of Scale hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. In each episode, Reid shows how companies grow from zero to a gazillion, testing his theories with legendary leaders. As an entrepreneur with big dreams and a change agent with a big mission, I'm obsessed with solving challenges that can create massive impact in the world. Scale is my intellectual sport! This podcast is one of a kind in its focus on understanding how scalable impact is achieved. The most valuable lesson I've learned from this podcast is the power of dreaming big, being bold, and going beyond barriers."
Julia LeClair, co-founder Orchard Mile
"As a new mother, I'm already a huge fan of Monica and Andy products, and I love their podcast, The Mentor Files, which brings together entrepreneurs and CEOs to talk about insider advice and their paths to success. I recently listened to their podcast with Brad Kopitz, the CEO behind Artifact Uprising (which I've used many times and love!). The most valuable lesson I learned from his podcast is about the importance of focusing on retention and not necessarily acquisition. We have made this shift in our own company and are seeing really great results. If you can keep your current customer happy and coming back for more, they're more likely to tell their friends. So if you do a good job with retention, then acquisition will easily follow!"
Grace Hsia, founder and CEO of Warmilu
"One of my favorites is Freakonomics Radio, where economists explore the hidden side of everything and discover the unexpected parts about human behavior. One of the best episodes is called, 'The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted.' Surgeon Atul Gawande points out a number of key inefficiencies in the healthcare system and looks at how some simple ideas could treat it. Freakonomics also has a pretty phenomenal set of CEO podcasts, which are amazing. I highly recommend it to entrepreneurs to learn from some of the top CEOs in the world."
Cynthia Rowley, founder of Cynthia Rowley
"Goop and Girl Cult. Sarah Jessica Parker said something on Goop recently that I really love: 'Business isn't about math—it's about human beings, collaboration, risk-taking, being really smart and strategic, thoughtful, careful, not being careful, and having huge dreams.' All you need is an idea and the dedication to turn it into a reality."
Amanda Zuckerman, co-founder of Dormify
"I like to listen to Boss Files With Poppy Harlow. It has taught me how important it is to learn about the challenges and failures other leaders and entrepreneurs face—it has made me a better problem solver in my own business. Plus it's a good reminder that everyone makes mistakes, and it's all about how you handle them!"
Elizabeth Lindsey, executive director of Byte Back
"I love How I Built This—especially the Warby Parker episode. It's fascinating how they used their experience to completely disrupt an industry that hasn't worked for years. I'm always struck by how committed the founders are in this podcast to their idea—even when odds might not be in their favor at first, they believe and know that they will change their industry and the world. It inspires me to keep going even when things aren't easy!"
Lauren Schulte, CEO and founder of The Flex Company
"Ask a Manager by Alison Green. As a manager, you have the power to fix whatever problem you're addressing with an employee. You never need to be frustrated or angry, because you have the ability to escalate until the issue is handled. Additionally, as a manager, behind everything you say there is an implied 'or else,' which means you need to focus on tone and being incredibly clear in your expectations."
Jen Gotch, founder and CCO of Ban.do and host of Jen Gotch is OK… Sometimes
"I wish I was the kind of person who could listen to a podcast or multiple podcasts a day, but I can't. That said, I have listened to many, many, many episodes of Todd Henry's The Accidental Creative podcast. It has given me tools to help lead a team, manage my workload, and more than anything, have the tools and ability to create on demand. If you're a creative entrepreneur, I cannot recommend it highly enough."
Jaclyn Johnson, CEO and founder of Create & Cultivate, author of WorkParty , and podcast host
"Pardon My French by Garance Doré. She does a great job of integrating conversations about creativity and business. I think what translates for me is being able to know your brand and know when to say no when things aren't a fit or to your standards. Garance really embodies her brand, and it's so on point always, so I love her advice."
Manal Kahi, co-founder and CEO of Eat OffBeat
"My absolute favorite podcast currently is Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman. I've learned valuable things from every single one of his guests, but perhaps one of the most intriguing things I heard was the following quote from the episode with Airbnb's Brian Chesky: 'If you want your company to truly scale, you first have to do things that don't scale.' It taught me to be patient and to focus on what really matters to us without obsessing over scale at very early stages."
Indré Rockefeller, Paravel co-founder
"How I Built This by Guy Raz is like therapy for me. Hearing how so many great entrepreneurs continuously fail along their path to success has taught me to be smart about how I fail rather than be afraid of failure."
Iva Pawling, CEO and co-founder of Richer Poorer
"My only every day go-to is The Daily from The New York Times because staying informed right now is so important. On the 'work advice' front, my favorites are Akimbo with Seth Godin and Second Life with Hillary Kerr (duh). They are totally different formats— Seth is an incredible storyteller, and Hillary is one of the best interviewers with a great stable of inspiring women. The most recent lesson I really have taken to heart was an episode of Akimbo about origin stories and how important what we tell ourselves and our customers is. We are currently going through a brand refresh at Richer Poorer, so stepping back to the original 'why' for us, and even myself as an individual, really spoke to me."
Erica Cerulo, co-founder of Of a Kind
"My business partner, Claire, and I are both ginormous fans of Call Your Girlfriend, hosted by the long-distance besties (and fellow work wives!) Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow. They talk about all sorts of things—from politics to social-media privacy to caftans—but the thing I value even more than the content is the constructive, open-hearted way they voice diverging points of view without it ever feeling personal. The way they argue for different sides of an issue provides a great model for anyone who's looking to improve that skill at the office or otherwise."