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Co-founder Roslyn McLarty on how GIST is doing more than 7 figures in revenue

Updated: May 6, 2023

This is Roslyn McLarty for Female Startup Club.

Welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here - your host and hype girl. Today we’re learning from Roslyn McLarty, co-founder of The GIST, a women-led and operated digital sports media company with a mission of leveling up the playing field in sports and bringing inclusive and progressive sports updates to underserved fans.

Roslyn leads The GIST’s operations, finance, and audience growth and together with her team, she’s scaled the brand’s audience to over 1m GISTers across their channels. Roslyn and her two co-founders were named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2020 and have been accelerated through programs with Meta and Techstars.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a newsletter this is your sign to do it! We talk through the blueprint in the early days when it was more boots to the ground organic vs today and what she would do now if she was starting fresh. The media landscape is changing, and that's great news for small businesses. You might feel like the latest it-newsletter is popping up left right and center, but as the market becomes more saturated there are lots of new tools that make creating a newsletter super easy. Roslyn McLarty's number one tip? Take a look at all the tools out there that can save you a lot of time and investment up-front.

New episode with Roslyn Mclarty, co-founder of The Gist

Please note, this transcript has been copy-pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

Roslyn. Hi, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Hi, thanks so much for having me and giving me the opportunity to share more about the just journey with you and your audience. I mean, I'm so excited. I'm so excited for everyone listening. I'm really excited for myself. I feel like when I've spoken to you in the past, I've just learned so much. So I'm excited to get really deep into your story and some other learnings that maybe I haven't heard before. Yeah. How do you like to introduce your company? The GIST? Yeah. So we're a woman founded and run digital sports media company that is all about leveling the playing field in sports, which for us means a few things. It's equal coverage on women and men athletes. It's bringing more female and diverse voices to the forefront in sports, which is obviously a very male dominated industry and just making sports more inclusive and accessible and fun and engaging for um women and underserved sports fans. Oh, my gosh. So amazing. And I love your like brand your tone of voice. Everything is just so cool. Thank you. Everyone should go and check out your website as soon as possible. It's amazing. Oh, thank you. I want to go back to 2017 or, or maybe even pre-17 to understand how you kind of had this light bulb moment and how this became an idea between you and your co-founders and how you kind of got started. Yeah, for sure. So, it's myself and I have two co-founders, Ellen and J C. We all knew each other from business school and we're friends through that and had been working in downtown Toronto in different areas of financial services for a couple of years after graduating, I was at P W C. I'm a CPA by trade. So very different from what I'm doing today. But something that we all noticed from working kind of in those uh more male dominated environments in such a big sport city was how sports are such a powerful connector and can create community and are almost a social currency in our society. But how for a lot of women or really anyone who doesn't resonate with that more traditional male dominated sports media industry, it can feel like a boys club or it's like this community that you don't have access to a social currency you don't have in the workplace or not. It's not something you can Um connect with your, your loved ones or friends around. Um and when we looked into why that was less than 5% of sports media coverage is on female athletes and less than 14% of sports journalists are women. And so just kind of trickles down to the end user, the sports fan. So it's no wonder that for us and so many other women that we spoke to, they just like, weren't as avid sports fans as their, as their male counterparts. And that's something that I found myself, like, I grew up playing sports and athlete watching sports with my family. But I just found it didn't translate to those years after graduating and, and being in the workplace, so many parallels to business and entrepreneurship and, and the V C world. Oh my gosh, totally. It's been like a double double in the journey of being a female run sports startup in the entrepreneurship world. Um But yeah, so me and Alan and Jay, we came up with the idea pretty organically. We just had gotten together for dinner and Ellen was going off like talking about a sports game the night before and her passion really shines through. She's like, I don't guys is such such a sports fan. It's always been such a big part of who she is. And we just thought about how it's so much more fun getting sports news from a friend who is so passionate about it and can also take a step back and provide context and answer your questions. And um we just kind of had this light bulb moment of there's probably so many other women out there that are feeling this way and such a powerful consumer base and this whole industry has basically been ignoring and under serving half of the population. So, you know, why couldn't we fill that space with something like the GST? Oh my gosh. I love that. Thank you. And for you, like, at that point in time, I mean, I know you went to business school so you kind of had like certain tool kits to be able to build businesses and things like that. But had you actually thought, yeah, we want to start a business or was it kind of like, oh, you have an idea and you're like, oh, maybe we could try this. What was the, you know, you're working full time at this point. So what was your thought or vision around? What it could be? Yeah, I think it was just one of those things where we came up with the idea and we were all so energized by it and felt like it had such potential and like deserved to be in the world and would help a lot of people. Of course, there, we didn't know how we would go from being CPA S and management consultants. And Ellen was working in insurance to being media entrepreneurs. Like none of us have worked in sports, none of us knew anything about the media industry startups, any of that. Um But we just started working on it kind of like off the side of our desks, I think we each probably invested like a few $1000 each and that was enough to like have an initial brand identity and get the website going with some content on it and start to like plan like what it, what it could be and visualize what it could be. And yeah, I don't know, we just never turned back from, from there once it got rolling. So in that beginning phase, you know, when you're still working the 9-5, was it just the concept was a weekly or a daily newsletter? And it's just you guys kind of writing this newsletter based on what's happening in the sports world. And like that was it as the simplest form. Yeah, for the first few months even it was just kind of like conceptualizing what it was and getting like a brand and figuring out the voice. And then I think towards the end of 2017 is when we launched our like MVP newsletter just to family and friends and like just with surveys to be like what did you like? What did you not like? What more do you want to hear about to collect that initial use of research on what people were looking for out of? Um It was initially just like a weekly newsletter, All Toronto Sports um sent out to our friends and family and eventually whoever they would pass it along to. Um I think once we had that initial data and felt confident enough to like put a newsletter into the world outside of our inner circles, we were kind of gearing up to this launch party where we would try and make a sloshy entrance into, the into the world have our host like 300 subscribers. So we planned this party at like the shop fire offices in Toronto, a friend worked there and was able to get us the space. We invited like 100 of our friends and family. I think even back then, like J C was on the phone trying to find like brands to like, sponsor the drinks and food and like some prizes. And we did this big presentation like with a power point and everything and explained like the pain point and the solution, what the gist was and it was really well received. Like people were really excited about it. Um I remember having this feeling after the event like, oh shit, we like really have something here. Um And that's how we got like our, our 1st 300 newsletter subscribers launched the first newsletter like the next day or that week. And um and then it was out in the world from there. Oh my gosh. How exciting. So cool that you had it at the shop offices. I love that. Yeah, in that, you know, really early stage had you already figured out how you were going to and what those streams looked like or was that also more a process of figuring it out and kind of organically going with the flow? Yeah, I think we had an idea that it would be advertising based eventually, I think, based on who we were serving, which, and, and really the mission of the brand, which is making sports accessible to everyone. We knew we weren't gonna have like a paid newsletter from the Get Go or anything like that. Just because people who don't identify as avid fans are probably not going to be the people who are signing up for a paid sports news product. Um And we looked at the companies like the scam and the hustle and morning brew at the time were kind of like the newsletters on the scene and we saw how they were doing it. So we like had plans to eventually earn revenue that way. But I would say the first year, the focus was really on figuring out the brand, figuring out the voice, figuring out kind of the offering, the newsletter offering, um and figuring out how to grow the audience that it could get to a point where we would be able to monetize it one day. So in that first year, I'd love to talk about that audience growth and what you were doing to find people who were subscribing and kind of getting that first loyal user base and kind of where where you landed in that first year at the end of the year. Yeah. In the first year we did, we did not have a big growth budget. Um, like we do and are fortunate to have now or larger now. So we were just testing everything and it was very scrappy. Some of it worked. Some of it was an absolute flop. Tell us about what worked. What? Yeah. Uh So a random one that worked well was actually we like, woke up at like five in the morning and spray painted the just like website domain on the streets of like all of the neighborhoods that would have kind of like millennial women and like young people. And we actually got a lot of people through that. I think just because people are curious, they were like, what is this? Uh did you go out and spray paint it? Like you're out there with a spray paint can? Oh my God. I love that. Can you get in trouble for that? I think so. But that's why we went to early in the morning and we were like, nobody will catch us. So tomorrow everyone like look out for female startup club on your pavement gonna be out there spray painting. It was effective graffiti artist. Totally. Oh my gosh. OK. Cool. Love that. Something that didn't work very well was like, we would be just like out on the streets asking people to sign up for the gist. Like in the Toronto Financial District, we did, we went around to different college campuses in Canada. We would like go to parks and like have give away free and be like, you can have a freezy if you give us your email and it did, it didn't go very well. Ok. Uh Usually when we're like giving something away to get an email and return people who were like, literally just doing it for the freezy or the was so it didn't end up being very high quality and it's obviously a very big investment in time for newsletter. So, um that's interesting. Well, what did work was like our referral program, which is something that we launched early on and is a bit of an investment to have some like merchant things to give away, but it's pretty efficient and like more affordable and really leverages the early people that are super into and, and loyal to the brand and with the referral, do you mean it was much like hats, sweaters, um t-shirts or were there other kind of digital products in the mix as well? Yeah, all of the above in terms of the physical merch, the like first, like I think one referral maybe just would get you into our influencer group, which is a Facebook group and a monthly email that we still send that just gives you the behind the scenes of what's happening at the GIST and the G HQ and team what's coming down the pipeline? Oh, I love that. Some of that like behind the scenes access to how we're building the company. But I think, yeah, after that, it was like stickers, uh hats, t-shirts, et cetera. I love the new merch that you launched recently, by the way. So cool. All the like really designed. Has it launched yet? Yeah. Um it's coming uh next month. Maybe you showed me, maybe that's what happened. But yeah, so cool. Oh, I'm so excited. Thank you. And in that first year, like when you finished the year, where were you at? In terms of audience, were you monetizing? Was it, you know, are you still working 9-5? Like what's the painted picture of where you landed after that first year? Yeah. So actually after a few months after we launched, I think we had like, I want to say a th like a couple of 1000 subscribers, we were really fortunate to come across this incubator program no longer exists, but it was called the Digital News Incubator Challenge, I think. And it was like Facebook partnered with this local incubator and the companies that got in um could get up to $100,000 in non di loaded funding and $50,000 of Facebook ads. And so we were just like, this is exactly what we need to get to just off the ground. So we like spent all, all of our time like outside of work, like putting together our pitch deck, our answers to questions had like friends working who that we knew, like worked in BC or any kind of investment, like to review it, give us advice, um practice the pitch like 100 times and did it. And I decided like if we get into this program, we're all gonna quit our full time jobs and do it just full time and we got into it. It was like one of the best, best moments ever because we were all just so excited to have the opportunity to have like a little bit of funding to go full time. And so I think by the end of that year, because we had a little bit of growth budget to play with. Um in the early days, we were probably, You know, in the like 10, Maybe range of subscribers and we had maybe had like 1, 1 ad partner. Yeah, when you were in that accelerator program, did it change kind of your not your niche because you had already clearly defined your niche? But like had you iterated or pivoted on the offering or the product overall or was it very much of the same and more kind of support from mentors and other experts? Yeah, I didn't change the trajectory of I think our vision for what the gist could be and what it was at that point, I think with any incubator and Accelerator sometimes, at least our experience was as like a media company in the larger tech ecosystem. There's like a lot of encouragement to it, like, think more innovatively than a media company. Like, what else could the gist be? Um So we definitely were pulled in a lot of different directions, which is tough as like a really early stage company because you just feel like everybody is smarter than you and has better ideas and and knows what to do. But we ended up sticking um kind of pretty closely with it and just kind of like evolved the offering in like slowly and in a way that made sense for us. So initially, it was a weekly Toronto sports based newsletter. Then it went to twice weekly across Canada in 2019 is when we expanded into the US actually, because we went through another accelerator program with tech stars that was based down there and started to localize the newsletter to different cities and just like slowly increase the frequency over time to allow us to build that more like consistent trusting relation, relationship with our audience where they knew they could rely on us to keep them up to date on all the different sports. Um Also it really helpful once we started monetizing because it gave us more inventory as we were able to bring in more ad partners. And maybe the local aspect also made people more sticky because it's just so much more tailored to what you're looking for, which is important for sports. So, is the way that it works. It's kind of like the main kind of global gist publication where it's like, here's all the things happening everywhere and then if you're like in Toronto or you're in L A, there's like, here's what's also happening, like in terms of, you know, local games, football, blah, blah, blah. Exactly. Yeah. So, right now we have like the main US and Canada newsletters which differ for something like the Olympics or the World Cup. You're going to get coverage of the US teams or the Canadian teams. And then there's a section for New York or L A or Denver Seattle, et cetera with all of your local sports in the same new, like the newsletter that I'm reading, is that the same one that someone in, like downtown Toronto is reading and it's just broken out by different sections or is there a different newsletter that they've subscribed to? And you're doing like multiple newsletters, you know, on a Monday, for example. Yeah, it's all the same newsletter we just like have um it's called dynamic content in our email service provider where you can send different sections to different segments of the list. So that's how we do it. But it's all in like the same newsletter. Got it, got it, got it. I got it now. Cool. I love that. That's so clever. I want to talk about like what happens next after you leave, you know, that Accelerator and textiles and kind of those next few years that get you really like spiraling and snowballing to, you know what you are today, which is a huge newsletter. What is the kind of like pivotal moments in those next few years? Yeah. Good question. I think like one of the most important things for us was just like really continuing that growth trajectory that was um being able to show that momentum was really important for us starting to be able to go out and monetize um with different brand partners and to be able to grow um faster fundraising was a part of being able to do that. So we did raise some money kind of throughout this whole time of like before texters going through texters after texters. And it was never um a clean kind of like traditional V C round after round or anything like that. There was a lot of different things left together. There was angel investors, friends and family, we took on loans, any pitch competition or a grant that we could get. Um And the last like, I guess you could call it. Our seed round was in, in 2021 where we raised a million dollars. Um And that really allowed us to throw some gas on the fire of our growth playbook, which we've been testing and developing throughout that point. And that allowed us to bring on like that audience size, I think maybe after we hit the 100 K mark and we're getting into the hundreds of thousands um fans really were becoming interested in that trajectory of growth. And like this audience that was very unique, the female fan and also just this movement of the growth in women's sports, the importance of the female fan and just women in sports. And this male dominated industry, a lot of brands want to be a part of the story of leveling the playing field and equal pay and equal treatment of, of women in sports and whatnot. And so yeah, that's been a really big piece too. It's been being able to bring on these really big brand partners and with that revenue then be able to hire more team members to roll out different offerings too and expand our coverage to more channels. So Instagram tiktok, more recently, we expanded into two new content verticals as well last year. So we expanded into our sports business vertical which covers the business of the growing women's sports industry um which also put the like there's a really big white space for and then most recently college sports news. So I love that. Yeah, that's kind of, that's kind of how it's evolved over time. So I have a few questions around the seed round. What traction did you have to raise that million? Like? Was it were investors interested in how many subscribers you had or it was still vision based or where were you at that point before you raised? Like where was your, what was your pitch debt kind of about? Yeah, I think at the point of the seed, it, it really, we did have good traction in terms of subscriber growth and revenue. I I don't remember the exact amount of like monthly revenue, but it was enough to show that the business model was working and it was growing. I think that was the main thing in prior rounds. It was more about like the vision and, and the opportunity and stuff like that. And when you say like the monthly revenue, do you mean like 20,000 or you mean like 200,000? Um it definitely wasn't at like the 200,000 mark, but it was probably like in the like low tens, I don't want to say, ok, so you're proving that you have that kind of appetite there and if you're able to grow, then you'll be able to get bigger deals and ya, ya, ya, ya ya. OK, cool. And so once you kind of had that million dollars and you start investing in different channels and you know, tiktok and Instagram content and, and the different um newsletters based on college and business and all that kind of thing is that kind of when you spiraled and you went from how many subscribers were you at when you did the, the fundraise I wanna say like low, low hundreds of thousands, maybe like 100 right? 100 1000. And then that's caused you to, like, kind of in the last year and a half, I guess, or, or two years almost now. Kind of go to where you are now because you're, I think you're at 600,000 or something now, right? Um, yeah, closer to 700,000 subscribers and a million over a million um on the total audience. Oh, yeah. Ok, great. So, yeah, that fundraise was basically like, ok, let's like blast it. Let's get to this next level. Amazing. Do you think that is your plan to keep raising or are you kind of like it was the seed round to kind of get the wheels in motion and you might not raise again? Yeah, that was definitely the intention uh to not race again and get to a point where we could be profitable and self sustain and really have that independence and control of our own destinies and where we want to take the gist, we did end up raising a little bit more actually. Um partially if you're alone and partially this amazing woman in sports accelerator program came up that was backed by Billie Jean King who's like an icon um in our space. So we couldn't say no to that. But um we are profitable now on this year. Um our first like fully profitable year which is feels like really good place to be. That's so exciting. Love that for you. Thank you. What is like the channel that's working for you really well right now, like how are you growing today as a V C backed newsletter? Yeah, growth has been really important and a really big journey for us and I have both the privilege and challenge of overseeing growth, which is um an art and science I think because it really combines like the logical analytical like numbers oriented, which has been a big way that we thought about growing with also like that creative and like empathy collaboration, intuition side of things which has been fun. So I think what on like that more logical side of things, one of the most important things that we did in our growth journey was set our data analytics up to be able to have the information that we need to allocate growth resources in a really smart way across all of our different channels. And to like really deeply understand um how a growth channel is performing in terms of engagement, open rates, click rates, retention, um understand what the lift and value of a customer from a given growth channel is and then compare that to the cost per subscribe or like cap um And then based on what's more efficient in terms of cost, the quality um and the amount of time investment in each channel adjust resources um based off of that. So that's been really important um for us to figure that out. But in terms of like the different channels that we are testing and like are in all of that equation. Um paid socials and paid search are definitely a couple. Like when you think about our audience um demographic, they're hanging out on Instagram and, and tiktok and that's where they're getting their news, their sports news with their sports fans um spending a lot of time. So we spent a lot of time um figuring out the creative and copy on those um newsletters are of course amazing for acquiring newsletter subscribers because they're just super high quality users that are already reading newsletters and clicking on newsletters to go subscribe to your newsletter. Then they're probably gonna be a great subscriber for you. We initially started out just doing cross promotions with other brands um which can take a lot of time for the payoff of the number of subscribers that you get from a cross promotion. We tried newsletter ads, but we're having trouble making it work at a cost per subscribe. But more recently, there are these partner programs where so the, the two that we use are Spark loop and swap stack and you can essentially set like your cost per lead and other newsletters can decide to just place you in there. So it's less of a time investment and you kind of know what to expect in terms of your CPA. And then the other one that's been working really efficiently for us is um, giveaways and, and like sweeps which can really span um the spectrum in terms of quality. But we're finding when we're more intentional about who the other brands are, that we're partnering with what the prize is, is it aligned to what the gist is about? Like, is it sports related, for instance? And are the other brands like, uh do they have similar audiences to us or people that would reasonably be interested in the gist? Um The quality tends to be a lot better and it's like, still really strong from cost per subscribe, standpoint. Yeah, it's kind of like you have to find that someone, maybe someone else told me this. I can't remember if it was, I can't remember who told me this but they were talking about, oh, no, I think it was you last time we chatted and we were talking about like having a prize that's like, so amazing. But if it's so amazing that it attracts everyone that's too broad versus like if it's something quite niche and you're able to find the audience who gets it but not the broader audience. I think that's like the sweet spot of and I think my example was like, oh, imagine if you had a prize with like Serena or Venus Williams or something like that. And then of course, everyone would want to sign up to that because they're so well known. But if you have like a more niche sports player where only true fans will kind of sign up to that, that's gonna yield better results, which I was like, oh yeah, that, that makes a lot of sense. Totally. Yeah. You know, something that was working or is working really well for me. Um on the organic side is tiktok lead magnets. So we saw and I didn't click on to this for such a long time, but I, I started posting videos about grants, which is obviously super relevant to a women based business audience and they would always do really well. And so a couple of months ago, we set up just this document where we track every live grant that's available around the world. And so we do us Australia, Canada, the UK and then kind of like rest of the world that are more like applicable to anywhere. And we just started posting videos about this document on tiktok and we find that everyone that comes through that kind of um you know, sign up link from tiktok, they're like so high value as a subscriber. And even though it's not like maybe as fast, it's still thousands of people who kind of watch the video, then you can add budget to the video. So you get more views knowing that it's already performing and then people are gonna click through and download that lead magnet and that's been something that it's been a really good growth mechanism for us. And we also use that as part of our referral program. Nice. I love that. That's such a good idea. Yeah, I think you need to try something like that once you hit on like the, you know, testing different ideas to your audience and you find that kind of one video that goes a bit viral and you're like, oh, this is working, how can I create something that will drive them back to downloading whatever it might be like that has been a really good growth mechanism for us. Mhm I love that. Thanks. You should, you should use it. Yeah, we, we definitely will. Um if you were starting the GIST today or actually if you were just starting any newsletter today, what would your actually this is a multipronged question. What would your go to market strategy be? But also how much money would you kind of personally invest? And where would you allocate it? Like, what would your kind of like quick strategy around launching a newsletter today? Good question. Yeah, I feel like the land the newsletter landscape has changed um in that it's more saturated. But also because of that, there's a lot more tools that are really useful for new newsletters. I know we've looked at Beehive and they have a lot of the tools for, you know, analytics around growth channels for instance and they're really good. Yeah. Shout out to Tyler. Yeah, totally. Like for like, I mean, I'm looking at their stuff and I'm like, oh man, we invested all this stuff into like data analytics and like all of our infrastructure and now there's like tools out there that can do it for somebody who's just starting out and doesn't necessarily have time or resources to hire team members to do stuff like that. So definitely take a look at the different tools that are out there at your disposal. Same thing on the growth side of things like platforms like spark loops, you can run a referral program off of and also get early growth through that. Um There's I feel like because there are so many more newsletters, you can really leverage that newsletter ecosystem of referrals of like cross promoting and and whatnot. So that would be one tip would be, yeah, look at all the different newsletter tools that are out there at your disposal and can save you a lot of time and investment kind of upfront. Take the time to really define your audience and the value that you're bringing to them and get feedback early on on What people are liking, not liking how to improve because it doesn't matter how much money you funnel into growth. If you don't have a newsletter that is resonating with people and people are opening it at like, you know, for a small new newsletter, like 50% plus is definitely, I feel like good to be aiming for at that size to know that you have like some great content and a loyal readership before you start growing it. And then in terms of growing um growing it, I feel like you kind of do have to like, throw a lot of different things at the wall and do like really small tests. And there's like so many different ways to be able to A B test, whether it's, you know, subject lines in your E S P or within like Facebook or Google ads, there's so many opportunities to be able to test different messaging and seeing what hits and what's resonating and then scaling budget from there. Um But you can really like cheaply and easily run a lot of different tests to, to see what's hitting. And then beyond that, I mean, once you start getting to the point where you won't want to like monetize, I know I said, like a certain size will get people interested. But if it's like, really, you can find somebody who's like, really aligned and values even just like a small amount of really engaged niche audience, they're like, you're gonna be able to find the right partners if you're thinking. Um I don't know, like creatively about who who that is that you could partner with so many great tips. Thank you so much. Love that. Thank you. Just something else you mentioned, I want to quickly touch on is, you know, the space is so saturated now, there are a lot of different newsletters. What are your thoughts on the future of newsletters, like, as a business model? And do you still see this as something, you know, in five years time that is still going to be so relevant the way it is today or do you see the landscape shifting towards? I don't even know what, but let's say more like, you know, an S MS version of a newsletter or something totally different. Like, are we still, do you see us still reading newsletters in the next like five years time? Yeah, I, I definitely do and we're willing to bet on, on that. It feels like the demand for curated digestible niche news that like each individual is interested in. Like you can really curate your news experience by just signing up for the newsletters that you want instead of having to go digging for news. So I think like as the newsletters get better and better and more more niche or more personalized to what people are looking for. It's only um I feel like people will only like more and more people will start using newsletters as their way of getting their news and as like a a business model, I think it's like so great um compared to creating content for social because you don't own that content and you don't own that algorithm or that audience because the algorithms can change kind of at any point. So building an email newsletter list is, is super valuable and knowing that when you send the newsletter, a certain number of people are going to open it versus when you maybe put something up on Instagram, you don't know who's gonna see it. Um So it's just like a lot more reliable, obviously from like a growth. And also like when you're monetizing through ads, um that that's like a much more reliable kind of aspect to it too. So question number one is, what's your, why? Why are you waking up every day and working on the chest? Yeah, I think it really comes down to our company mission of leveling the playing field in sports, pushing for more equal coverage, inviting new voices and new fans into the forefront. Um And I think beyond the sports industry, sports really are a microcosm of our society. And so that really gives meaning to the work that we're doing in a way that transcends sports. Um And I think, you know, we've chosen to direct to direct our work towards an industry that is dominated by men and people with privilege and it's also on a world stage. And so we hope that any of our contributions that we're making in leveling the playing field in sports will not only um impact our community and the athletes that we're talking about and female fans everywhere, but also just women that are existing in these male dominated spaces or are in these un unrepresented groups, um inspires them to kind of take up space in those spaces that they've traditionally been excluded from and feel empowered to make change on a societal level. I guess. It's like, kind of a, it's a good answer. It's an important answer. I love it. It's so cool. Question. Number two is what's been your favorite marketing moment so far? I feel like any time we've been reposted by an athlete that we look up to like Simone Biles, reposted us during one Olympics. Alex Morgan, Megan Rain. No way. That's so cool. Alexis. So, oh, wow. And our team just like, freaks out because we're all, everybody's like such a big sports fan. So that's cool. That's like the best, the best marketing moment you can ask for. Yeah. Holy moly. What is it like? Like when someone like that repost you, do you see a direct kind of R O I on subscribers or it's more like a brand awareness piece? It's probably more of a brand awareness, maybe some new social follows and hopefully eventually we can um convert those people to newsletter subscribers. But probably the former Question # three is what's your go to business resource if you have to think about like a podcast or a newsletter or a book that you've been reading or consuming recently? Yeah. Oh my gosh. I have so many, I love consuming content to learn. I like Fem Street for like tech world startup advice. I really like charter newsletter for workplace advice which has been relevant as we've grown our team. I Don't know that 1? Interesting. Yeah, it's really good. And then for people building media companies, Sarah Fisher's AXIOS media newsletter, there's this newsletter called a media operator, Brian Morrissey's Rebooting show, which is a podcast and newsletter, the day podcast and newsletter. And then um for personal growth. My favorite podcast is the Reset podcast by Liz Cham. So many good ones there. Thank you so much. We're gonna look them all up and add them to our database of what to consume, what to listen to. Question. Number four is how do you win the day? What are your AM or PM rituals that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? Yeah, totally. Um For me um exercising in the morning, I have to do it in the morning and I just feel like so accomplished already if I can get a workout in before work. Otherwise I like, dread it all day. But I know it's really good for my mental health too to get that in meditate sometimes I do it and I always feel better when I do and journaling. But I think like taking a step back from the rituals. Um I find like one of the biggest things that sets me up for winning the day is setting goals for like the year and and quarter and month and week and then just like working back from there. So for us, obviously, we have like our big business metrics, but my like annual goals for myself at the company are things like build a really big business um have operational excellence as we scale the company in terms of audience and revenue and team from like an analytics, tech finance people off standpoint. Um And the third one is be the leader that I would want and create a workplace that allows people to reach their full potential and feel really just like supported and, and connected. So having those three like kind of guiding principal goals and then working back from there into like breaking those up into big rocks. Um I find it really helps me set up my day to prior prioritize what's what's most important, love. The last one, such an important one and I feel like such one that needs to change in so many places and so many industries. I know it's crazy. Um Oh, actually one thing I wanted to ask you, I just forgot to ask it earlier, but on the topic of operational and team and things like that, how big is your team now? Where 22 full time and then another 20 ish part time. Holy shit. Wow. That's huge. That's amazing. That's a lot of people to manage. It's all happened very fast. We're figuring it out. But doing our best operational excellence, you've got that. You've got it. Yeah. Question # five is what's been your worst money mistake? And how much did it cost you? Yeah, that's, that's a hard one as like a CPA, really try and keep things as buttoned up as we can in terms of money management and whatnot. But I guess indirectly, one of the places that can cost a lot of money and like has for us is um, like not having the same level of standard for vendors that we work with, um, as ourselves and like having a vendor, I don't wanna like name who it was or the type or anything, but we've like, had agencies help with things like growth or accounting things where you're not like hiring on a full time team member and not just not cutting them soon enough when they weren't like performing as well as like the standards that we would hold ourselves or our full time team to, um, it probably cost us some money in the long run. We've heard that a lot on the show. Oh, really? Yes. Service providers. I think there can be, it can be so great if you find the right agency or the right kind of, um, provider or vendor who can kind of like be on the same page as you and get you to reach the goals that you have and together, you know, work effectively and things like that. But a lot of the time there seems to be, or from what we've heard on the show, there can be a lot of a mismatch and it can be just money down the drain, you know, it makes such a big difference when you find the right ones. Which luckily, yeah, we do. We are there on that front. Yeah. But it's like, it's also a mistake that I feel like I make repeatedly. But I also think it's worth it to keep trying until you do find people who are in alignment and then can help you reach the things that you're wanting to reach. It's, it's always worth it. Mhm. Totally. And sometimes it takes like finding that right partner or right person on the team to be like, oh my gosh, I'm never gonna do this again because it feels so good when it's like the right person and it's such a contrast. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Last question, what is just a crazy story? Good or bad that you can share from building the GST um and when we were flying down to Philadelphia to pitch text stars, we missed our flight. We were like, so nervous about, um, missing our flight that we went to the airport so early, like two hours early and just like, found an area and set up and like, did work and just like, got lost in our work. And then our gate was like a 15 minute walk from the place and we were like, oh, she probably head to our gate and then it was so far because like the gate switched on us. So we like, ran full out through the airport and got to the gate and they were like, no, it's already and we were like, oh my God, we're not going to get to like pitch text stars and this is such a big opportunity for us. Um But luckily they were able to put us on the next flight and we like, still made it just some time. But wow, it's very stressful. Talk about a self fulfilling prophecy. Yeah. Oh my gosh, this has been so fun. What do you want to shout about and leave us with today? What exciting things are in the works for the GST well, as you alluded to, we're launching a um our new merch line in May um which we're super pumped for being able to get that our new rebranded stuff into the hands of ours. Um But otherwise just like we love people to check out the newsletter or follow us on socials. We're at the just sports dot com and yeah, we would love to have you in our community. This has been so great. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your story and your learnings and all the things that have happened since 2017. I'm gonna be cheering for you forever. Thank you. This has been so fun. Thanks so much for having me on.



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