BABE #135: BLYTHE BRUMLEVE,
Founder @ GuysGirl Media
Blythe is out there doing the damn thing. She's a Jax local who has been making a serious name for herself in the world of sports radio and broadcasting since 2009. (Think of a more male-dominated field. We'll wait.) In all seriousness, she has her hands in so many different projects and her confident attitude and self-starting mindset continue to set her apart as she runs three separate businesses and grows her community of badass female sports fans around the country. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Blythe! You are definitely a babe and we are cheering you on.
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL, born and raised
Current city: Jacksonville, FL
Alma mater: Sandalwood High School; I attended Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) for a year and a half on a full-ride scholarship before I realized college just wasn't for me.
Degree: N/A; Certifications in Hubspot Inbound Sales & Marketing, Google Analytics and SEMRush SEO
Very first job: Great American Cookie Company at Regency Mall (RIP) at 16 years old
Hustle: Founder @ GuysGirl Media + Brumleve Brands // Founder @ 1010xl // Radio Host
Babe you admire and why?
Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX. She worked full-time selling fax machines door-to-door, and was upset when the company required she wear pantyhose. She hated that the seam showed while wearing open-toed shoes, so she cut off the feet of the panty hose and SPANX was eventually born. She attempted to sell the product to hosiery manufacturers all over the country, but discovered that the companies were led by men who didn't know the product they were selling. So, she used her life savings ($5,000) to start a business, wrote the patent herself, and eventually found a manufacturer who believed in her idea because his three daughters were excited about it. Today she's a billionaire, listed as one of the most powerful women in the world and launched a foundation to help women through education and entrepreneurial training. (She's also from Florida!) #bwh
How do you spend your free time?
Work/life balance is really important to me. I have to make myself take mental and physical breaks because I have a bit of a habit of being a workaholic. When I do force myself, it's either at Hannah Park in Mayport or at the gym. Both locations are where I put the headphones in and turn the world off.
Favorite app, website or blog?
Reddit, because I want to read about the latest news but also hear educated opinions from a variety of sources. Too many people live in their own echo chambers these days, and being open-minded about other viewpoints has given me a significant advantage in both life and my career.
Favorite fictional female character?
Go-to coffee order?
Black and strong
Go-to adult beverage?
Bourbon and ginger. My dad’s side of the family is from Louisville, so I like to think a good bourbon has always flowed through my veins.
Favorite social media account to follow?
NatGeo. There are so many negative stories out there, especially on social media, but every photo they post has a story that feeds my inner desire to explore and learn.
Tell us about your hustle.
I own Brumleve Brands, where I build websites with an inbound marketing focus in B2B industries such as supply chain and home building/construction. From client relationships, new sales, and project management, I'm also elbows-deep in strategies like SEO, email marketing, copywriting and editing, web design, custom web development and social media. I also founded GuysGirl, the voice for the female fan covering major sports through editorial features, radio and broadcasts, podcasts and YouTube. Through 1010xl, I cohost two shows per week: Helmets and Heels on Tuesday nights (the first football show in the country to be hosted by all women) and The Kickoff Show which airs on Jaguars game day. Since they’re both weekly shows, there’s a great deal of planning and topic research that goes into each two-plus-hour show, versus a daily show where most of the topics come from that particular news of the day.
What does your typical workday look like?
The alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. and, like many others, I hit the snooze button at least twice before I grab the phone, turn on a podcast and start checking for any client communications to ensure business isn’t going up in flames. When I finally get up out of bed, I make a pot of coffee, chug some water, and turn the damn podcasts off. I emphasize the “damn” part because now that I work from home, I relish drinking my coffee from my office that overlooks my backyard (and baseball field!) in silence—almost as meditation before the day is started. After the most important tasks and items of the day are completed, I check emails, update projects and try to fit the gym in three to four times per week. I follow this routine for most of the week outside of game days. If it’s a game day, the entire day and most of the following day are spent prepping and/or catching up on client communications.
What inspired GuysGirl?
I started GuysGirl back in 2009 when I first moved back to Jacksonville at 24-years-old, because I felt like I was the only girl who enjoyed things typically thought of as “for the guys”. But with the growing popularity of the internet and social media, I discovered there were thousands of women out there just like me. Rather than being just an educational website (which is what I originally planned,) I quickly changed the tune to showcase other female fans.
In addition to sports radio, what other facets of media does your job entail?
Everything. The nature of today’s media is that you have to be everywhere at once, and I've shifted my strategy in accordance with the behavior of my audience. Before, I would write two-to-three blogs per day. Now, it’s one video per week for GuysGirl, two live streams of the sports radio shows, one B2B video per week on Brumleve Brands and all the lovely social media, email marketing and SEO that goes along with them all.
Did you always know you wanted to work within the sports industry?
Not in a traditional sense of the sideline reporter "toss it to the news" girl. I like having an opinion and want a seat at the big-boy table. People say to me all the time, "I can't wait to see you on ESPN," and I'm quick to say that won't happen. I started GuysGirl as an independent media company. When you work for other entities, they want your voice to become their voice, and they control your future. With GuysGirl, no one controls my future but me, so it has to be a package deal with sports companies I work with. We can be teammates working together towards an ultimate goal, but I won't be your mute puppet.
Have you always had a love for sports?
As a baby, the first word I ever learned was “shit” because I was watching Louisville Cardinal basketball with my dad. (He got in a little trouble for that from my Memaw.) My dad is a sports nut, so when Jacksonville got the Jaguars, he would bring my brother and I to all the games. Sports have been in my life for as long as I can remember.
What would you say is your biggest career milestone and why?
It has to be taking the full-time entrepreneur leap back in April. It was scary as hell, but I think deep down, I always knew I could do it. It was facing that fear of, where the hell is my next check gonna come from? That drove me like I never knew it could.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
I think being a woman has actually helped me tremendously. Considering the male-dominated industries I've worked in (logistics, sports, construction,) when you're a woman who can talk sports opinions with the male executives, they either see you as their equal or are slightly intimidated by you. (Which helps tremendously in contract negotiations!)
What is the gender ratio like in your industry? Do you see it evolving?
Sports coverage in the south is absolutely dominated by males and the good ol' boy network. Males who have much stronger (and less informed) opinions than me aren't told to "tone it down" or that they’re a “bit of a loose cannon" simply because of their honest opinions for the sake of a sponsor. But with YouTube, podcasting and streaming, you no longer need the big platforms like ESPN. If I have something I want to get off my chest, I'm an independent media brand and any sponsors I work with know I'll deliver a well-researched opinion on my own platforms. I take pride in my research from a variety of sources before I air an opinion, and if those big platforms that I work with don't like it, they are free to go elsewhere. With all that said, I love a good d*ck joke, too, and try to mix in a fun and realistic approach to the sports industry. Because if we can't take time to learn and laugh, what are we really doing in this industry?
What are the existing stereotypes of women in the sports industry?
The biggest one for me is the pop quiz I get from males who either just discovered I'm a sports fan or desperately desire to work in sports because their nine-to-five sucks. If I don't know who the backup tight end for Ohio State in 1997 was, then I'm a fake fan and they could TOTALLY work in sports and take my job if they wanted to. The easiest way to respond to guys like this is to hit 'em with the "bless your heart." Works every time.
What do you think needs to happen in order for us to start seeing more women involved in sports?
Honestly, it's already happening. Women in the past were put in smaller roles like editing, news clips, camerawoman, etc., and now those women are being put into broadcasting roles. When it comes time for layoffs at companies ESPN and FOX, it's tough for them to fire these same women because they're multi-tool players.
What are some of the everyday struggles with your job we might not see?
Work/life balance is one. When I can't make the friends happy hour or family barbecue, it eats me up inside. But the true friends and family understand my commitment and learn that when I do say no (which is rare), it's for good reason. Self-doubt is also another one. I have those days where I think, how the hell am I going to get all this done; what was I thinking taking on this project; why would they want me to do this? I have to almost let myself have that moment for the hour or day. Then, the next morning, I wake up eager to tackle it. I love a good challenge and the high when you figure it out and connect the dots is the greatest high of them all.
Who are some women in your field that you look to for inspiration?
I don't think it's necessarily one woman, but rather the movement of all women. Every day, especially from brands like Babes Who Hustle, you hear stories of women who are out there killing it. Despite whatever challenges they're faced (work, life, relationships, kids, geographic location, etc.), we're fighting our own battles and it's so damn encouraging to see so many women coming out on top and refusing to stay knocked down. Women cheering on other women is something I'll never get tired of seeing.
What advice would you give to a babe trying to break into your industry?
You'll either find a way, or you'll find an excuse. Never stop learning. If you're entry-level, learn everything you can and take every job and responsibility, even if it isn't paid, because that's an investment in yourself. I didn't graduate with a degree and I never worked in publishing or broadcasting until I found myself with an opportunity to grow. But what I didn't know, I learned through Google University or on-the-job training and interning, and all of that has led me to the career I have now.
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