Ginni Saraswati got her professional start in radio, but noticed the ways in which podcasting and autonomous listening were eclipsing the medium years ago. In 2017, to make the most of that, she launched her company, Ginni Media. She says that hers is the first female-owned company to strategize, plan, launch and produce cutting-edge, award-winning audio shows. Today, the New York City-based entrepreneur has helped launch podcasts from all over the world – from those made by individuals with unique ideas, to offerings from corporations and magazines who wanted to branch out into new mediums.
Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.
How is your business different from others in your industry?
We’ve been 100% remote since the company began – way before the cool kids started doing it because of the pandemic. This means we’re an international, diverse team, with team members across 14 countries. It’s the multicultural collaboration that brings in different perspectives, and our wide range of content benefits from that. We are women- and minority-owned, and have operated since the beginning with zero investor funding.
Tell us about your biggest success so far.
We’ve launched over 500 podcasts, and our revenue has grown by 200% from year to year, between 2018 to 2022. We even got into the content game last year by launching our first original audio drama series, “Fear, A Love Story.”
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Media can be very competitive at times, and there are a lot of long-established big dogs in our field. Finding acceptance as a niche production company run by a gay female immigrant hasn’t always been easy. But I made the decision to stand in the space I know and represent different voices. That has become our signature – hence the Ginni Media tagline, “Made offbeat.”
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
During the pandemic, I got a call from my sister in Australia informing me that our mother was at the end of her life. Australia had incredibly strict quarantine restrictions in place at the time, so I had to endure 14 days of isolation in a hotel when I landed in Sydney before I could see my mother, knowing she could “go” at any minute. Work kept me sane during that time, however, as soon as I was out, I had to completely switch off and be present with my family.
This taught me that work-life and personal-life have to exist harmoniously. Balance is a myth. There are times when the pendulum must swing in one direction or the other, and we all need to create understanding around those shifts.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Hire a bookkeeper within your first year of business. It makes life so much easier to know where your cash flow is, and if any pivots need to be made.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
By leaning on my community. Contrary to what my comfort on the mic may indicate, I’m generally a private person. I turn to my community privately first before sharing something publicly. For me, it’s like speaking from healing, rather than open wounds.
What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days?
“The Greatest” by Sia.
Who is your most important role model?
There are many, and all have admirable and exceptional traits: actress Mindy Kaling, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, my mother – even the hard-working lady down the street finishing her shift at 7 in the morning. ◼