Ally Melendez is the Founder and CEO of The On-Air Institute, an online program designed for aspiring on-air hosts and broadcasters. As a Tv host and multimedia broadcaster, Ally knows what it takes to be successful in this industry and is passionate about helping others begin their journey toward a successful on-air career as well.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
I have a pretty versatile background. I studied broadcasting and production in college (SUNY Oneonta), later went on to get certified in yoga and group fitness instruction and now I’m running a business! Some might say it’s a lot, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My broadcasting experience, (particularly in the male-dominated sports industry) when combined with my experience as both a row coach and boxing instructor, has given me a whole new perspective on what women can accomplish when we tap into our power and show up confidently in all that we do. It’s when I began feeling aligned in this way that I realized I can inspire others (especially women) to feel the same, which I do in “The On-Air Institute”.
Q: What motivated you to get started with the On-Air Institute?
I love serving people and making a difference in their lives. With my background, I always aim to connect with others whether it’s an audience through broadcasting or the clients associated with fitness coaching. When the pandemic hit my jobs all came to a pause and I, like so many others, was left wondering what to do next. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the many positions I’ve held throughout the years and why each one lit me up the way it did. I realized the common denominator was an undeniable joy that came with serving, empowering and connecting with others. Around the same time, I was getting a ton of DM’s and emails from aspiring broadcasters all asking for advice. Clearly there was a need for more resources and mentorship, particularly when it came to young females wanting to begin their career in the broadcasting space. With my unique broadcasting experience, passion for serving others and the obvious need for a solution, I created “The On-Air Institute”.
Q: How have you attracted users and grown the On-Air Institute?
Honestly...it’s really all been through social media. I often talk about how this course can and has transformed lives, then just show the proof and written testimonials from previous clients. I don’t really “sell” this course, I truly just believe in it wholeheartedly and let that show on my social media platforms. People connect with PEOPLE, not necessarily with what they are selling so I do my best to show up authentically and consistently whether I am talking about my business or something else entirely. There’s power in vulnerability, in being real and in storytelling so by doing that naturally via social media, I have been able to turn followers into clients who WANT to invest in themselves.
Q: What's your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
My business, “The On-Air Institute” is a 12 week online program for aspiring on-air personalities! In this group course, clients learn and strengthen ALL the skills needed to be a successful and paid on-air personality, and we start by doing the inner work first. We deep dive into what it means to be confident and resilient while learning to overcome limiting beliefs that could potentially hold us back from creating or landing our dream on-air job.
Before starting “The On-Air Institute” I had absolutely no clue how to run a business. The idea of founding something on my own actually scared me a little, not gonna lie! I decided not to wing it and invested in working with a business coach to set everything up in the most legit, legal and straightforward way. Once my ducks were in a row, I began bringing everything to life in the best way I knew how, one step at a time! As I mentioned above, I have been able to grow my revenue greatly through social media; posting client wins and testimonials, creating content that’s intriguing enough for my ideal client to want to schedule a free clarity call and learn more, etc. So far this method has been really working for me; however, I am looking to outsource soon and bring someone onto the team who can help with different marketing tactics and advertising since that’s not my area of expertise.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
To keep impacting, serving and connecting with as many people as possible. I want to empower aspiring on-air personalities to keep working toward their goals and dreams while unapologetically showing up as the most confident version of themselves! I also plan to keep working on my personal career as a broadcaster so that I can keep learning and growing in the industry, which will support my role as a mentor.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome?
There were times when I was first starting my business that I would compare myself to other entrepreneurs who were YEARS ahead of me. It took about a few months for me to realize comparing my life, business and career to anyone else’s was a waste of my time and energy. The thing to keep in mind when you start to compare your journey to other people’s is that you’re always going to feel lightyears behind someone in ANY space that you’re BRAND NEW to and that’s okay! Whether you’re starting a new career, a new business, or a new chapter in life, you might find yourself with “comparison syndrome” like I had but the more you advance on YOUR journey, the less you’ll feel the need to mirror anyone else’s.
Q: Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Ask for help! Starting a business can be overwhelming and scary as hell, especially if you (like me) have ZERO clue about what that process entails. When I invested in working with a business coach, got legal counsel, and created a clear and organized plan of action, I no longer felt overwhelmed or scared. There are people who WANT to help you, and know exactly how to do so. Get clear on what you will be needing help with then take to facebook groups, job sites and referrals to see who would be a good fit to help bring your business to life.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Keep going and surround yourself with like-minded successful female entrepreneurs in your space. Make it a point to connect with them, engage with them and learn from them. Believe me when I tell you that this is very important. According to the EoY 2019 Diversity Report, only 20% of newly funded startups by the end of 2019 had a female founder. Even though that’s doubled since 2009, it’s still only 20%. If you wholeheartedly believe in yourself and your business, then bring it to life with everything you got! YOU have a chance to make a change, inspire the next generation and contribute to the rise of that percentage. Surround yourself with women who inspire you to found your business and expand your comfort zone in order to grow, then go for it!