Do you ever meet someone and immediately have a connection?
That’s what happened with Michelle Khouri. We were both students studying for a degree in Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Central Florida. Michelle was a year ahead of me and I looooved her outgoing and vivacious personality. I knew back then she’d do incredible things in her career and low and below, we’re both entrepreneurs carving our unique paths in the digital space.
Michelle is the CEO and Founder of FRQNCY Media, a first-of-its-kind multimedia production studio and community hub in Atlanta, Georgia, built by and for podcasters. They help content creators reach new audiences through high-quality production, strategic audience development, and proactive community building.
AMAZING, right? Let’s dive right into this interview.
When did you decide to start your biz? Was there an “aha” moment?
My “aha moment” for starting FRQNCY Media was seeing just how many people were “doing it wrong.” And by that I mean, there were all these audio companies that had experience in different forms of audio (but not podcasting) who were starting to see momentum building in the industry. And most of them saw a business opportunity and set up shop to capitalize on it without educating themselves on the industry.
The result was small business owners and thought leaders investing their hard-earned money with these companies without getting results that were up to a certain standard of quality — at least not for me.
I wanted to help people who had the same desire and interest in podcasting as me, and my personal experience proved how much of a game-changer a company like FRQNCY could be. I knew I could do it better.
What challenge have you overcome and how?
Bootstrapping — which is to say that I, singlehandedly, am paying out of pocket for every expense this company incurs — is no joke.
You might hear experienced entrepreneurs tell you to be wary of working with really large brands at the very earliest stages of your business, and that’s because they can take so long to pay and are often bringing in your largest paychecks.
So my greatest challenge has also been my greatest proof-point for the way I set up my business model, which is with diverse revenue streams that complement and supplement each other. So when it took our largest client to date five months to pay our largest check to date, it was scary – but we made it through thanks to our business model.
Who’s an inspiration or mentor to you in this rollercoaster ride of owning your own biz + one piece of advice they’ve shared with you.
I have many. Christy Brown is an extraordinary entrepreneur who is now the managing executive for Loeb.atl, which helps build startups with a much more holistic approach than your average venture capital firm.
Christy is an incredible role model for how to be a powerhouse founder and how to lead as a CEO. She has been an active supporter of FRQNCY from day one and has been an invaluable advisor for how to make FRQNCY the best possible business it can be.
She has given me countless gems of advice, but the one that stays true no matter what stage I’m in with FRQNCY is to always, always, always trust my gut. It’s a simple yet powerful piece of advice and can be especially hard to adhere to when a chorus of voices is constantly telling you how to run your business.
At the end of the day, no one knows your business better than you do. Remember that, and live by that.
We all need fuel! What’s your current go-to podcast or book right now?
The podcasts “Masters of Scale” and “Without Fail” empower and motivate me as a founder and CEO, while “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” reminds me to anchor myself, stay balanced and approach the world around me from a place of kindness.
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What does a “positive equation” look like to you?
FRQNCY is a purpose-driven company, which means that we see the potential for healing in the power of sound. So a “positive equation” to us is the result of any action we take driven by our purpose and values.