To be honest, this is a difficult question to answer, and I'm going to try my best to give you a bit of insight with a no-extra-fluff response. It depends on how passionate you are about your podcasting, it depends if you're willing to put in the needed time, and your money making potential does, sometimes, vary based on the topic of your podcast.
There are already many people who are making an extra income or a second income while they are podcasting, but these people can tell you that it would not be enough to sustain them completely. For the most part, podcasters with serious hobbies are pretty happy they can sustain their hobby while keeping all of their costs covered. For a lot of people, this is enough for them and they stop there. They created a podcast to share their passion, and not necessarily to make money.
But what happens when you want to make a living off strictly podcasting? Is it possible? Yes, but be prepared to sweat a little. Anything is possible with a little determination. How much time are you willing to put into your podcast is the question you want to ask yourself. Are you willing to leave your current job to make that happen? Podcasters who make a nice living off of podcasting do not get it from sponsors alone and they really do have to plan out and be extremely creative with their income strategy.
Keep in mind, with a big enough following you will have an easier time getting advertises to help back your show, but that's definitely not the only way you can make money. If you're talking about a product that you really like, don't forget to include affiliate links in your podcast description. When people click on it and buy the product mentioned in your show, you can get a nice commission and a bit of income is generated that way too. When you already have your brand established, you can begin creating interesting products for your followers to buy. Anything from music made by you to an e-book talking about your life story will help bring in income and sustain you.
Do not just stop at one podcast, create multiple with different themes and work on them equally. This will help you generate a bigger audience in different niches and therefor drive sales to specific brand products and reach out to more sponsors. If you're already a podcast pro, then consider teaching others about how you made it. That is a market all in itself and can generate an income as well.
Be sure to consider all of your options on how to monetize your podcast and write down a business plan on how to attack each one that appeals to you. You can give a couple of your podcasts away for free and then charge for the rest in the series. This is great if you have industry insider information that you'd like to share or provide a full course on something you're knowledgeable about. You can also give your following only 15 minutes of the show for free and then charge them to see the full show.
The success of your podcast all depends greatly on your following and how loyal they are to you. The best way you're ever going to get a loyal following is by giving them great content and having them feel connect to you and your brand. It all boils down to content. Content is key to building a successful podcasting business and fundamental to how you build great relationships with your listeners.
Podfly is a company that takes care of all the grunt work to podcasting. We provide you with a great intro, outro, and professional editing quality like no other. If you'd like to focus just on your podcast, then be sure to ask for Ayn Codina or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to have her edit your show on a regular basis.