“You hope you don’t make one that’s so outrageous that it brings everything down, but when you are running a business, or creating some kind of brand that is where you’re going to learn best and you can’t be afraid of that, because you have to have some trial and error.”
Tracy Sandler – Founder & CEO of Fangirl Sports Network (FGSN); Creating a female sports community; Being an effective leader; Achieving balance; Experiencing growth; Building a sustainable brand; Not being afraid to make mistakes
Segment 1: (Length :04:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Tracy Sandler and her journey as an entrepreneur; On starting FGSN; Creating an outlet for women to come together in a sports community; On launching a podcast.
Tracy’s finer points:
“I started for fun. I was working in politics and I started for fun, a blog called the trials and tribulations of my love hate relationship with the San Francisco 49 er’s, and I say that because it was very worthy and my website address was trialtribulationblog.com.”
“I started writing just because it was actually Harbor’s last season, and it turned out to be his last season, and I just started writing about the games.”
I had free time, and I felt like I talked about this stuff a lot with people so I might as well turn into a creative outlet, and I like writing and used to write, and people started to read it.
“Not a ton of people, but enough people started to read it and engaged me on Twitter, and I was like, “Wow wouldn’t this be interesting if I turn this into a whole thing and actually put 49er’s somewhere, so people knew what I was talking about.'”
“And so I created 49er’s fan girl, and also wanted to do more video based. I had a background in acting and some on camera things, and felt like video was obviously the way things were moving and felt like that might be a good fit for me.”
“So I started 49er’s fan girl and that’s when I realized there was a real market for what I was doing and that female sports fans, just because we love sports doesn’t mean we also don’t love being female, and that there’s a whole slew of sports fans.”
“In fact, 45% of NFL fans who are women, want to have recipes for their games, a drink at your tailgate and know how to throw a good Super Bowl party. And learn to bedazzle a Jersey and look cute on game day, so that went well and meanwhile people really enjoyed my commentary on the 49er’s like you had said I like to bring a humorous view to it.”
“After season one I thought, “All right let’s give this a shot, with another team.” And I brought in a Rams fan girl, and it went well. This year we expanded to the eight NFC and AFC west teams. We had the Clippers and Lakers girls for the playoffs last year and next month I am getting ready to launch a slew of NBA fan girls after the Super Bowl.”
“I think women do love football, there’s something about it. It’s so interesting because in a lot of ways it’s a sport that you would maybe think would turn off women, but there is something about football that is just so fun to watch, and I think there’s a community aspect to Football, and getting people together.”
I think the important thing is understanding your brand, and understanding your audience.
“We are appealing to sports fans. We keep their sports and everything. This season there’s a football component to everything that we do, and I think that’s really important, and Fan girl sports network, is the place where you can go whether it be at the website, or through social media where you can find content about your team all across the board, with our content”
“We share other people’s content, we have the more lifestyle type content, trying to make it really a one stop shop for the female sports fan especially, but really for all sports fans.”
“I feel like every team should have a fan girl, every team should have somebody who essentially is their representative, for the female sports community, and community at large that they are to share her own thoughts on your team, the game and then also other people’s … What are other people saying what are her thoughts on what they have to say.”
The podcast I started my first show was fan girl and it's been really successful people love it. As you know, Podcasts are very popular and they're fantastic. I think it is something that I would like to branch out even further because people love to listen to podcasts, talk about podcasts and it's a great place to talk about sports, and the ability to talk about your team or whatever the latest news is, in a somewhat more casual fashion, which I like.
Segment 2: (Length :08:00) – Talking with Tracy; Bringing a female perspective into the game; Learning to delegate.
Tracy’s finer points:
“I’ve certainly been at sports bars before where something will happen in a game and I’ll make a comment and the guy sitting next to me is going to like,” Oh yeah that’s the quarterback, so he throws the ball.” … No really?”
“We definitley get a lot of that. I would say for the most part in the workplace itself, I’ve been really lucky and I can’t speak for other beats, but I’m really lucky to be on the 49’ers beat because first of all the organization has been really supportive, and it’s really well received what we’re doing, and my colleagues have been the same way, and I work with the writers who’ve been covering the 49er’s for 20 years, 25 years and they’ve been supportive, they’ve been helpful, they’ve been mentors and so I’m really, really lucky there.”
“I can’t necessarily speak for other beats, my assumption is probably that they’re not all quite like that, but I’ve probably been spoiled, being a 49er’s beat writer, because that organization has been just fantastic, and they’re a very a forward thinking organization generally, which I think is a big positive and the beat writers definitely reflects that it’s a really good group.”
I am a big supporter of Colin Kaepernick, but we can absolutely talk about Colin Kaepernick.
“I think it’s very mixed. I would say I personally, and clearly I am a huge Colin Kaepernick fan. I understood from the 49er’s perspective, why everybody parted ways. I think it was best for everybody. What I think is unfortunate is that Collin, never had a job in the NFL this year and I think it’s very easy to make the argument that he’s not one of the top 15 quarterbacks right now, if plea to make the argument he’s not one of the top 32, I would disagree but I can see how someone could make that argument, but to say he’s not one of the top 64, is just unbelievable to me.”
“So I just think it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t have a job in the NFL and he had a good message, and I think it got misconstrued the way he went about it, but I don’t know of any other better way to go about it. It was peaceful, nobody got hurt, he did what he thinks is right, and it’s unfortunate that he’s paying the price for it when it was something he did that was a positive . . .”
(On delegating) “I think the letting go is definitely the hardest part, and especially over the last few months.I’ve added in people that do some of the things that I was doing before out of necessity, and it’s trusting that it’s getting done.”
“It’s not that I don’t trust them, because I wouldn’t hired them because I’m used to doing everything.”
I do think one of the things that I was really very good at as a manager in my political life, was delegating. Which I find of course so much harder now because this is my baby, but I'm learning to delegate and let go, and kind of trust that when we talk about something it's going to get done.
“Obviously you have to follow up because no one’s going to care as much as I do that it’s my business, but you have to follow, but really the letting go of it and bringing people in that you trust, that’s really hard.”
“I’m lucky to work with an incredible group of people and I have people working with me who I do really trust implicitly, and who do really care and really want this to be a success as much as I do. But that is a hard thing, the letting go thing is just a very difficult thing and to know that once we’ve discussed that it’s off my plate and I don’t just think about it anymore.”
Segment 3: (Length :10:00) – Being an effective leader; Achieving balance; Experiencing growth; Building a sustainable brand; Not being afraid to make mistakes.
Tracy’s finer points:
“I just think it’s just some of the day to day stuff. That not having to email, text or call later, and be like, “Did this get done?” All the time on everything, because it is getting done, I just think just letting go of responsibilities, some of it’s been really helpful, to let go of responsibilities, but some of it’s just hard, it’s my baby and we’re growing now, and so really up until very recently I was doing almost everything.”
“Not editing videos and stuff but like just most of everything, but just knowing that other people can do it too. That’s definitely, I think a hard thing with a business, but I think it’s one of the most important things about being a manager, and about running a business because you want to create a comfortable working environment you want to create an environment where people feel empowered and feel trusted, and you don’t want to be a micromanager.”
“That is I think one of the worst things that you could have going on in a business, obviously you have to get on top of everything, but that’s why you have a weekly call, you have a weekly meeting and you follow up where needed, but the last thing you want is to be a micro manager and to have the people feel like you don’t trust them, and that they’re being watched all the time. It’s not fun for anybody, so I think that delegating is one of the most important things about being a manager.”
I think you got to get to a point where you're really doing the stuff that you really want to do and that you really should be doing.
“Yes and I think I’m pretty good about work life balance. I mean especially … I would say especially during football season, but really it’s probably all year round. I can’t entirely put my phone away at dinner, but I do have an apple watch so that if something important comes up it’ll come up on my watch and I can deal with it.”
“But there are certain things like on Sundays, I really can’t have plans, but that’s okay, I’ll be fine. I’ll survive. But I do have to have done a pretty decent job, I think of work life balance. I just am little bit on call all the time, but I think that’s also just the world we live in.”
“I think if you’re going to be truly successful in this age, then you’re going to have to going to be on call a lot.”
And covering the 49er's is one of my favorite parts of what I do. So it doesn't bother me that ... We had a game Christmas eve we had a game New Year's eve, but that's fine that doesn't bother me. . . That's what I do and I'm lucky I get to do it so.
“It’s different when you’re doing something you love, and that you’ve create it. It makes a big difference.”
(On realizing this was growing into a bigger platform) “Well I remember in my first season when it was just 49er’s fan girl toward the end of the season, then a lot of people on Twitter started to treat me and say, “When are you going to have a Giants, fan girl, when are you going to have a patriots fan girl? When are you going to have a Cardinals fan girl?”
“You just have to have a vision. And that the thing none of us really do you know, and at the end of the day you don’t have a successful brand without the people who follow it, or if your retail who buy your product et cetera, so those to me really are the wins, there’s other big things that will come but those are the big wins.”
“People like what we do, people care about what we do, and that that means it will be a successful brand.”
“It might sound cliché, but the end of the day you don’t learn from your successes, you learn from your failures, and learn from your mistakes.”
You hope you don't make one that's so outrageous that it brings everything down, but when you are running a business, or creating some kind of brand that is where you're going to learn best and you can't be afraid of that, because you have to have some trial and error.
“And you’re better off making those mistakes early then later, you can’t be afraid to try something out, to give it a shot and see what happens, because the other day it really is true you learn from your mistakes.”
“You don’t learn from your successes, your successes are great, but they were successful because you knew exactly what you were doing, but when you make a mistake and you learn from it that means you’re going to have a greater success later.”
“Sometimes you have to make tough decisions for the sake of your business, and you can’t be afraid to, as long as you know they’re the right decision, you can’t be afraid to make them.”
“Segment 4: (Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:
We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success. – Arianna Huffington.
Tracy Sandler – Founder & CEO of Fangirl Sports Network (FGSN)
Tracy Sandler is the Founder and CEO of Fangirl Sports Network (FGSN), a network of women providing fans with knowledgeable, passionate, and humorous insight into their favorite professional teams.
Tracy began as 49ers Fangirl in 2015, bringing fans the latest news and behind-the-scenes action for her beloved San Francisco team. This led to her becoming a member of the 49ers’ press corps, where she reports live from the field and the locker room, attends press conferences and covers community outreach events.
In just two short years, Tracy has expanded FGSN to cover all eight NFL teams across the AFC and NFC West. Tracy is now at the helm of an incredible group of women who are making their voices and intellect heard through their weekly news updates, game commentary, and lifestyle tidbits.
Her long-term vision is to have every professional sports team represented within FGSN.
Tracy was a sportswriter during her collegiate years at The University of Michigan, and reignited that passion when she launched her blog, The Trials and Tribulations of My Love/Hate Relationship with the San Francisco 49ers, during the 2014 NFL season.
After receiving an abundance of enthusiasm and positive feedback, Tracy decided to turn her passion into her career.
Tracy resides in Los Angeles.
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