Starting up your own broadcasting network is no longer out of anyones reach. Dedication, hard work, a passion for what you love and of course a great internet connection. Andrew Zarian has always had a passion for broadcasting, and after being laid off decided he would follow his passion and make a carrer out of it.
In this installment of TZ Startup Hot Seat we have a chat with Andrew the CEO of the Guys from Queens (GFQ) Network. We discuss how GFQ came to be, scaling back the network to scale for growth, broadening the programing to reach a bigger audience, learning to let go and trusting in your team and much more.
Give Us the Fast Pitch
Guys From Queens Network Inc. Is a web based television network covering a wide variety of topics from Technology to Entertainment. Produced out of our Queens NYC studio, our web shows feature a wide range of guests, comedians, technologists, authors and broadcasters. Being on the front line of technology entertainment, and news we are able to provide an insightful view on all topics.
What made you decide to begin the GFQ Network
Growing up I was always a huge fan of radio. I would rather listen to the radio then watch TV. The problem was I discovered that this was my passion when I was 23. I had already started a party supply business in NY. I luckily was bought by a large party supply chain and ended up doing I.T. work. After about 8 months I got laid off from that job and was sitting at home thinking “ What am I going to do next?” I started Podcasting for fun and it grew from there. Now my passion has led me to a career.
What is the market opportunity?
We are in the Wild West period of Internet Broadcasting. What the GFQ network is providing is an entertainment outlet for great content. We try to appeal to as many people as possible rather than one target audience.
How big is your team?
We have about 16 people that work on the network. That’s counting on air talent, interns, and business end employees.
Have you ever needed to change direction/focus? If so, what was that like?
Yea actually, we recently made some changes to the direction of the content on the network. We really try to have something for everyone. We cover everything from Tech to Comedy. We started to realize that we had become more of a tech network. Although, our core will always be tech we are trying to expand our audience, so we have added more shows that are outside of the tech world.
How do you deal with competitors? Do you keep up with other companies doing similar things?
I think competition is great and you can learn a lot from your competitors. I try to network with the “competition” as much as possible. We are a very small community, so why not work with your peers and improve the business as a whole. We have other Webcasters/Podcasters as guests on our network all the time. Cross-promotion is the key to growing your content and viewership.
What are the most difficult and best things about being an entrepreneur?
I think most people will say the best part of being an entrepreneur is the fact that you’re company. You make the calls. Being able to do what I love is amazing. The uncertainty is the most difficult part. Not knowing what will happen tomorrow is really hard at times.
What’s one of your most successful decisions?
To be honest the best decision I made was bringing back a past employee. The most important lesson an entrepreneur can learn is to put their pride aside and do what is best for the company.
Where have you struggled? What mistakes have you made that you believe other entrepreneurs could learn from?
I think I struggled at communicating at times. I have a lot on my plate, and juggling everything gets to be too much at times. I have a great team and everyone brings something different to the table. Although, it was a struggle at first, I have learned to rely on my great team.
Who are your three most influential entrepreneurs?
Leo Laporte – Leo has done an amazing job with the Twit Network. He is truly a pioneer and the king of Internet broadcasting. I respect everything this man has done for the industry.
Steve Jobs – Steve Jobs is one of the most important minds in Technology. When he came back to apple it was in bad shape. The
company was dying and no one wanted an apple. In a few years he has convinced us that we NEED an Apple product
Spencer Kobren – Spencer is radio host, best selling Author and the founder of the American Hair Lose Association. He is one of the most Successful and Honest Entrepreneurs I know. He has been a mentor to me. I have learned a lot from him and owe a lot of my success to him.
What does “failure” mean to you?
We have already surpassed our original expectations for the GFQ network. Even if we stop tomorrow, we did not fail. I think that we are on the verge of the future of broadcasting and anything we do to add to this world is successful. I guess to me Failure means to stop.
What does “success” mean to you?
We are working toward a future of media. To be part of something like this is amazing.
What is coming up next? Your goals, new products, new direction? (Either for you as an entrepreneur or for the company as a whole)
The GFQ Network is growing everyday. My wish for GFQ, is for it to continue to grow and reach an even larger audience than it currently has. My team works tirelessly thinking of ways we can make GFQ bigger and better than it is now. We are planning on adding more shows this summer and expanding on our blog. We just have to wait and see what other surprises we have.