In July 2022, best friends Kristen and Erika decided to launch a podcast together about antinatalism, their journey towards choosing to be child-free, the highs and lows of making that decision, and what it’s like to live a ‘dual income, no kids’ (or DINK) lifestyle.
Since launching, the DINKY podcast has built a community space for other people who choose to be child-free, with a number of followers engaged over social media through Instagram and TikTok. We spoke to the co-hosts of the DINKY podcast about what their experience on this project has been like.
How would you describe your podcast?
Erika: Dinky is a podcast about two child-free friends who "just won't shut the eff up" about the DINK lifestyle. We launched in July 2022 and are in pre-production for our fourth season.
Kristen: Erika and I met in college and have been besties ever since. We think Dinky offers a refreshingly silly and candid conversation around the highs and lows of choosing to be child-free — and the journey to making the decision.
Why did you start your podcast?
Kristen: When we started the podcast, Erika was firmly child-free – but Kristen was still on the fence, trying to decide if kids were right for her. (For the record: through the process she has also adopted the child-free label for now, though she’d be open to considering fostering later in life.) While the conversation around child-free lifestyles is growing, there aren’t a ton of resources for women to process and connect, and those that do exist tend to lean more serious in tone.
We wanted to create a space for people like us: a space to laugh and make jokes, to talk about child-free celeb gossip, to brag about the things we could never afford if we had kids, and so on. We wanted to create something that felt more like a slumber party than a TED Talk, while still providing real data and research about the benefits of a child-free life.
What advice do you wish you’d been given when you first started?
Erika: There’s a false narrative in the world that making podcasts is free and easy. Making a good podcast is neither free nor easy. We have spent thousands of dollars in our first year alone on just the necessities, from logo art to professional editing. So if you want to do a podcast well, it’s not going to be cheap.
Kristen: From a time perspective, you just can’t do it all. We quickly outsourced our editing because writing, recording, and editing a podcast is a lot to take on when it’s not your full-time job. For example, our first season we edited ourselves, but once we moved to a professional editor we realised we could never go back. The quality they produce is worth the money. We also make a lot of content for social media – at least two posts a day. That alone eats up a lot of time. Luckily there are two of us to split the work, but it would be totally unsustainable if we were doing it alone.
How many people does it take to create an episode of your show?
Erika: On average, five or six, but it depends. Kristen and I host every week and have guests on occasion. Vincent Shortino mixes and edits our audio. Chloe Steinhoff-Smith created our podcast art, and Leah Kuehn created our show’s theme and interview transition music.
How do you monetise your podcast?
Kristen: We just launched merchandising. We made the deliberate choice to forgo in-show advertising this early on. We think it’s more important to grow our audience with a good experience than put in ads that don’t generate that much income. Hopefully next year we have different monetisation opportunities to consider.
How do you promote your podcast?
Erika: Mostly just through social media — we have a very active Instagram and TikTok where we create daily memes and feature clips from our show. We have 26,000-plus followers on Instagram and our reels reach millions in 30 days. This is also our first year bringing on PR support.
What have you learned about yourself since starting your podcast?
Erika: In terms of making the podcast, I’ve learned how important it is to have a teammate that you see eye-to-eye with. Kristen and I balance each other really well, in terms of skill set and goals. Plus, when things get hard, it’s so nice to have a partner who is in your corner. It’s also been refreshing to develop such an incredible community. Being child-free can be an isolating experience in your 30s, when your friends start settling down and having kids, so finding so many like-minded people from around the world who share this lifestyle has been tremendously heartwarming.
Kristen: From a content creator perspective, I really enjoy the writing and filming parts of the podcast versus editing and social media. From a personal perspective, I’ve learned the decision to become a parent is way more complex than society makes you believe. This decision isn’t something you should pursue on auto-pilot; there are so many factors to consider.
Who listens to your podcast?
Kristen: We have a big range of folks, but mostly child-free women, ages 23-44, in the United States. We have a growing audience internationally, with 34% of them being outside the US. We have been surprised to see our audience grow in non-English speaking countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands.
What was the last podcast you listened to?
Erika: I’ve been catching up on all The Viall Files episodes about ‘Love Is Blind’ — whew! So much drama.
Kristen: Your Own Backyard, which is an episodic true crime podcast. I keep trying to convince Erika we should try to produce an episodic podcast following regretful parents… she hasn’t been convinced.