Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in content creation but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Ho, founder, and CEO of Hangar Studios, located in New York City, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hangar Studios was not only one of the trailblazing podcast production companies in the world but was also the first to be owned and operated by a woman of color. Since hanging our shingle, Hangar Studios has been busy. We have worked with over 500 clients across all industries and the globe, produced 1,000 episodes, and our productions have reached the ears of over 30 million listeners worldwide. Our current location is 417 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and it is our only remaining physical studio as we pivoted to worldwide remote podcast production and on-location shoots.
Tell us about yourself
The story of Hangar Studios started in April 2009 when I saw a new dawn in media on the horizon called "Audioblogs," or as we like to call it now, podcasting. There was a desire for media to be consumed on demand and on the go. With a background in marketing and small business startup consulting, I went from making a lot of money for my clients only to give it up to forge an alliance with a top radio producer to start Hangar Studios in a small backroom studio in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. People motivate me. After 14 years, I'm still answering the phone. I like to meet each and everyone that decides to reach out to us. It not only creates the feeling of accessibility and instant connection but also allows me to handpick who we will work with to ensure a healthy work environment for our team. The clients' passion, curiosity, stories, and excitement is incredible to witness when a new client launches a brand-new production.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I've been thinking hard about this question. Accomplishments can look a multitude of different ways. We've won several awards, achieved brand recognition, and worked with well-known people and companies and the books look good year after year. When I first started Hangar, any one of these, I most likely would've said it was an accomplishment. When I look back, it is none of those items that create pride in Hangar more than the incredible team that was built and the clients that we get to surround ourselves with. They are what make Hangar the company that it is every single day.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing I've encountered since inception was not sweat equity. It took sleepless nights and worry. It was creating and adhering to company culture. What do I want Hangar to be like from the first touch to the last? How do I design a company where the team and clients enjoy creating and working and ultimately translate that message consistently and clearly? The answer was in asking myself, first, where would I want to work? Second, deeply understand there is a work/life balance to be maintained at all times and adhere to that as if my life and the team's lives depend on it. And third, not being attached to the clients who were not a fit for our culture. The money simply was not worth the stress the client would've caused.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Trust yourself to handle the outcome, whether it's good or not. You only need to focus on that and not the voice in your head (or your family and friends) that tell you all those diminishing things. They have just as much of a chance of being right as you do. When I started, no one knew what podcasting was.
- Throw as much $@#& at the walls as you can, and then throw more.
- Get on the client side of your business and gain their perspective. After two years of starting Hangar, I realized that I had never had the understanding of what it was like to sit behind the mic, be recorded, and craft a podcast from concept to distribution. I was nervous, excited, and frustrated and ultimately found my groove. I only then could truly support our clients through the process and train the staff to be more understanding. I knew what they might be experiencing and set up systems and environments to have the clients experience something smoother and more fun. We learned what potholes to fill on their journey before they got to them.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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