In the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview some pretty amazing people. I normally, provide a little anecdotal story detailing our introduction. While I can’t recall our initial encounter, I know it was definitely via YouTube. Out of all the interviews, I’ve done, this hands down feels the most personal. This is someone I’ve admired. This is someone I’ve learned from. This is someone who’s looked out for me wanting nothing in return. This is someone I consider a friend.
Nerds and Nerdettes, Meet Michelle Simon aka Sang Frais
1) Introduce yourself?
Sang Frais: What’s going on? My name is Michelle Simon, better known as Sang Frais on my Youtube channel “Nerds With Passports” or N.W.P Productions. I am a 29-year-old entrepreneur. I own three businesses and I’m currently working on opening a fourth. Pray for my social life lol.
2) What is a typical day/week like for you as a young entrepreneur? How do you balance this with other aspects of your life?
Sang Frais: A typical day for me is very hectic. Before ending my night off, I always have to make a checklist of what needs to be done the next day and it has to be followed or else I’m just backing myself into a corner with stuff to do. As much as I love working for myself, I do work all day every day. To ensure I don’t go crazy, I do set aside certain times of the day for myself or for my partner. For example, when I wake up that first hour belongs to me — no work or anything. I try to find time in the evening to dedicate to my relationship. I might even dedicate the weekend to my relationship just to make sure things don’t go downhill lol. Trust me, if life is all work 24/7 with no type of break, things will get crazy and relationships will sour. Been there, done that, hate it.
3) What or who influenced your style and career choice?
Sang Frais: Growing up, Left Eye and Aaliyah really crafted my style, then N.E.R.D came out and Pharrell started getting very mainstream with his production and he just carried my style off into my high school years. NIGO was also a huge influence on my style and as crazy as it might seem to some people,, Animes really keep my creativity and style going now. Their clothing, although animated, is really fucking awesome and I’d love to dress like that all the time. As far as a career choice, I’ve always wanted to be a Warren Buffet or Donald Trump (pre-election and stuff though lol. He was OK in my book when I was a kid). I was always drawn to rich people and entrepreneurs. Just seeing someone not following any rules and doing things their own way was magical to me. Growing up, I saw my parents were miserable at their jobs and they would constantly tell me, “Hey, you gotta go to college to get a good job when you get older to have a good life.” I never understood it because from my perspective, theirs was far from a good life. It’s like, why should I go through all of this, to be miserable? I chose not to go that route and so far it’s worked out and I’ve never been happier.
4) What does “being creative” mean to you?
Sang Frais: Being creative means getting to be myself to the max. I don’t have to bend or change myself for anyone. I can just do what I want and be free and honestly, that’s what being creative should be. I hate when people try to add rules to Creatives. I feel like there shouldn’t be any rules or boundaries when you’re being creative. That’s the best fucking part about it.
5) N.W.P Productions is a hub for film, gaming, music, sports and travel among other things. What do you feel sets you apart from your peers?
Sang Frais: I feel like our content and creativity sets us apart. You’re not going to catch us doing whatever is the viral trend for the moment. When you watch us, you’re getting us 100%. We do what we like and we share it with everyone with our own creative spin to it.
6) 10th Tier Media is another multimedia company you co-founded. What is your favorite role/job to do under this umbrella and why? How would some benefit from using your service?
Sang Frais: Honestly, out of everything I do at 10th Tier, my favorite thing to do is voice acting. Since I was a little kid I’ve always walked around making weird noises or trying to mimic cartoon character voices or how I think certain characters should sound so when I finally got a chance to voice act, it was perfect. I’ve done cartoons, video games, and commercials and it allows me to create a new persona each time and it’s just extremely fun to do. I don’t have to worry about numbers and paperwork when I’m in the booth, I just get to have fun.
If you’re a singer or rapper, you’d benefit from using our mixing/mastering service. Our audio engineer can take your song from basement level to iTunes ready. You need photos or maybe a music video to promote that song and we can help you out with that too. Or maybe you’re a small business in need of a TV commercial or a radio commercial. We can handle all of that for you. We’ve worked with artists and businesses all over the world, so you’d be in good hands with us. For all inquiries, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just ask for Michelle or Josh.
7) I imagine you’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs during your career, what was a moment(s) that made it all worth it?
Sang Frais: I always thought buying my parents material things would make all this worth it, but it actually came down to being with my mom and dad during his last days here and then being with my mom as she grieved after he passed away. When I was working a 9-5, I literally had bosses ask if you’re still coming to work or staying at work if you got a call about a loved one dying or being in the hospital. And then they’d write you up if you left or they would try to fire you. Which is insane. Anyone should be allowed to be with family during that type of moment without repercussions. It’s already a stressful situation. When you run your own business you don’t need to worry about being employed through that situation as well. They all were very heartless. So, being able to work for myself and not having to answer to anyone when that happened and just being able to take the time off to handle things and help my mom out was great. Being able to have that type of freedom has made everything worth it.
8) We all get dupped at some point in our careers. How have you avoided scams or being ripped off?
Sang Frais: Always, ALWAYS, have a contract in place for everything that you do. I don’t care if you’re working with family, best friends, even God himself, have a contract in place and make sure it covers everything. That way if someone wants to break it, you can just take them to court.
9) What’s your favorite video game or gaming franchise?
Sang Frais: Shenmue, hands down. I’m so hype about them finally making a 3rd one so this story can finally be finished. A lot of people were disappointed with the graphics when that last trailer came out, but it just took me back to the Dreamcast days. I’m ready for it and can’t wait until it finally drops.
10) Mobile gaming has been a booming industry as of late. Do you think it will overshadow pc and console gaming in the future?
Sang Frais: No. PC is always going to be number one for gaming. Consoles are even getting to the point where they’re trying to compete with PC when they shouldn’t even bother. You see what Microsoft is doing with the Xbox One X and it’s still not going to really be competing with a PC. PC’s are modular. I can add and take away parts as I see fit for what I want. Mobile is always going to be great for when you’re traveling or sitting bored on a toilet lol, but that’s about as far as it’ll go. The GPD Win, however, is close to giving me everything I want from a gaming PC in my pocket, so if mobile gaming can figure that out then we’ll be talking. Actually, PGS is probably going to be the game changer if they can ever get their phone to release.
11) What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Sang Frais: I have two pieces of advice to share that was shared with me. One: never start a business with multiple people. And I’m talking huge numbers. It’s never going to work out, trust me. I was told this when I was twenty or twenty-one — I didn’t listen. My very first business meeting with this group of people (after the fact, before anything became official) was a huge disaster. When the meeting was over, all I thought of was the advice I was literally given the day prior lol. Let’s just say, that business never happened. Two: never take freebies from anybody because they’ll feel that you owe them one at some point in your relationship. This is extremely true. If anyone ever offers you anything, just pay for it. You’ll never have to deal with a remember when I did this for you? type of situation. We’ve all been there before and it’s just not worth the headache in the long run.
12) Do you have any up and coming projects you would like to plug?
Sang Frais: Well, 10th Tier got hired to work on a documentary. I wish I could tell you more about it, but I’d have to kill you lol. A lot of the cool stuff has to be kept a secret until the original creator that hired us is ready to let the world know. I can say that I personally have another business opening soon. What I can tell you about that is it involves cool socks and if you’re into wearing cool socks, just follow the Youtube page at https://www.youtube.com/user/NerdsWithPassports and I’ll be dropping all updates there. It’s going to be awesome. Also, I’m going to be dropping more game videos on the channel like we use to do, as well as doing food videos because I’m a huge foodie and I’d love to start doing that type of content for you guys.
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