Ep. 30 1 hr 30 min

Creative Control and the New Media with Nicole Behnam and Mariella Rudi Founders of Beyond the Interview

Business Type

Media Outlet

Years in Business




Founder Background

Two journalists.

Words of Wisdom

"Never be afraid to ask for what you want." "Everyone is an expert at something. You just have to ask the right questions and you just might get the insights you're looking for."

Fun Fact

Went viral within 4 months of launching.

Show Notes

Nicole Behnam and Mariella Rudi are founders of the media company Beyond The Interview, where they curate a collection of interviews, essays, and social news. As two women who left full-time careers as successful journalists to pursue entrepreneurship, their story is one of taking creative control of their work and embracing a new age of personal, digital journalism.

In this show, Nicole and Mariella talk about their adventure in leaving their careers to pursue entrepreneurship, the importance of having a co-founder, writing authentically but still following a successful formula, and how to monetize a growing audience on any platform. They also discuss in general the media’s trend towards personal, vulnerable, and emotional news, and how young entrepreneurs can tap into these subjects to create a viral hits.       

Some Questions I Ask Nicole and Mariella:      

  • What is Beyond the Interview? [1:34]
  • What’s the dynamic with your friends who became influencers? [4:18]
  • Why start this when you have full-time careers already? [10:10]
  • Did you feel like your managers were telling you to write meaningless stories? [11:45]
  • Is this what your parents wanted you to do? [21:26]
  • What are the safe versus frowned-upon means of monetization? [27:19]
  • Were you both straight-A students or more focused on entrepreneurship? [28:12]
  • What are some subject matters that aren’t talked about enough today? [32:20]
  • Are there any other noteworthy stories that might be surfacing soon? [38:11]
  • How do you balance authenticity and following a popular writing formula? [40:00]
  • Are college instructed social media courses helpful? [42:15]
  • What’s been your most successful article and why was it successful? [48:20]
  • What do you guys feel like is your next big milestone? [56:10]
  • Has anyone ever turned down an interview? [59:29]
  • Any other stand-out experiences when trying to reach out to people? [1:06.30]
  • What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to get press coverage? [1:10:23]
  • Should people be paying for PR? [1:15:10]
  • What are some books you would recommend? [1:17:30]
  • What advice do you have to future entrepreneurs? [1:24:50]


Some Things You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • BeyondTheInterview.com is a collection of interviews, essays, and social news.
  • A deep dive into the thought process behind leaving a full-time job to pursue your own work.
  • Why having a co-founder can create a strong sense of interdependence which is healthy for a startup.
  • A lot of entrepreneurial relationships between founders start out as friendships, but it can also happen in the reverse direction.  
  • The struggle of female founders to fight societal pressure to get married and ignore their career.
  • Understanding the difference between a hobby and something you can get paid for.
  • How to monetize a nascent service with a growing audience.  
  • The key to creating shareable, viral writing is tapping into a subject’s vulnerability and emotion.
  • When generating content, learning how to take advantage of people’s natural inclination to talk about themselves and promote their work.
  • How the first 10 words of an Instagram DM are the most important in determining if someone will read it and respond.


Get in Touch with Nicole and Mariella: