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Justin Frenette is the Co-founder and CEO of Him & Her, a creative marketing agency that caters to forward-thinking clients. The agency boasts a team of experienced designers, developers, marketing specialists, project managers, and more who collectively provide end-to-end creative and marketing services to businesses that are dissatisfied with the status quo.

As a software engineer, Justin possesses the requisite knowledge and skills to design and develop computer software, software design methodologies, and concepts such as microprocessors, embedded software, process control, relational databases, internet development, and computer security development. Before Him & Her, he served as a business application developer at Magnet Forensics and a software tool developer at BlackBerry.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [03:23] Justin Frenette introduces Him & Her and the services it offers
  • [05:23] The experience of starting a business with a spouse
  • [07:59] What were Him & Her’s key hires?
  • [09:54] Justin discusses how to acquire initial customers
  • [13:01] The evolution of Him & Her’s services and niching
  • [20:58] The value of having business mentors in the agency world
  • [23:24] Building a leadership team and hiring challenges
  • [29:19] Justin explains how to keep employees motivated
  • [31:29] The project management tools they use at Him & Her
  • [35:15] Project management and team allocation for projects

In this episode…

Running a business can be a daunting task. From managing operations to strategizing marketing campaigns, the demands are endless. So, what needs to happen to achieve success?

Justin Frenette, an experienced entrepreneur, recommends working with an agency. With a shared passion for creativity and marketing, he and his wife founded a cutting-edge marketing agency that offers end-to-end services to take businesses to the next level. Their agency provides a comprehensive range of services, including web development, project management, software development, and more. He shares how their shared passion and commitment has enabled them to build a thriving business that helps other brands succeed.

On this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz sits down with Justin Frenette, Co-founder and CEO of Him & Her, to discuss the journey of creating a successful agency with a spouse. Justin introduces Him & Her and the services it offers, the experience of starting a business with a spouse, how they acquired their initial customers, and their hiring process.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “Trust your partner knowing that they’re coming to you with feedback or an idea.”
  • “You can get scared to niche down, but that doesn’t mean you have to drop every client or your relationships.”

Sponsor for this episode

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:15

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz  0:22

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today’s no different I’ve Justin Frenette of And Justin, before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes people should check out of the podcast. Since this is part of the top agency series. I always love the one with Todd Taskey. He is the Second Bite Podcast. So he pairs private equity with agencies. And it’s called the second bite because sometimes an agency sells to private equity, they make more on the second bite than they do on the first. And he talks about valuations and the landscape of M&A and everything like that. So check that out. I also did one with Jason Swenk, and Jason Swenk. talks about how he built up his agency to over eight figures sold it and then he’s been buying agencies and in like a very short span of time that company he built to over $30 million through acquisitions. So that was really interesting episode to another fan favorite of mine, Justin is Adi Klevit, she helps people create SOPs, and we get down on productivity tools, what we should software tech stack and what we’re using, and just how to be more productive in general, and in systems, which helps the business run smoothly. So check that out many more on And this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25, we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And how do we do that, we actually help you run your podcast, we’re an easy button for a company to launch on a podcast, we do the accountability, the strategy and the full execution of production. Justin, we call ourselves the magic elves that work in the background and make it look easy for the host of the company so they can run their business, develop great relationships and create great content. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people in companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, go to or email us at [email protected]. I’m excited to introduce Justin Frenette. He’s co-founder of Him & Her and Him & Her as a Canadian grown creative agency. And it was founded on the belief that design and development belong together. This has translated to innovating in the real estate marketing scene. And we’re going to talk about some of the niches in the evolution of their niches. With that scene, they’ve helped sell over $2 billion in pre-construction homes. They have also helped amazing direct to consumer brands Lomi Crown Verity Rafi Jewelers and others. And he’s actually a former Blackberry and Magnet Forensics alum. So Justin, thanks for joining me for having me, Jeremy. I want to get into what you learn from BlackBerry, what you brought an agency but start with what is Him & Her and what do you do?

Justin Frenette  3:23

Him & Her as you said as a creative agency, and the magic we found is partnering with our clients long term and augmenting their teams. So here at Him & Her we’re at 24 person studio that has design and development and digital marketing in house. All companies mainly internal marketing teams are facing the pressures of finding good talent retaining that talent juggling a freelancer roster, choosing between different agencies with different expertise. And so we offer an all-in house solution that makes their lives easier, helps them execute helps them accelerate their growth, avoiding a lot of those pitfalls and challenges. And at Blackberry have a huge thank you to that team. And joining that that company, I joined as a co-op at a college started part time started full time I bumped around a couple of teams, I ended up doing big data, internal tooling systems there. And from an agency or owning an agency perspective, having seen the inside of big corporate company, the politics, budget, budgeting, how reliable software needs to run that was test them out to learnings that have helped the product offering that Him & Her offers our clients.

Jeremy Weisz  4:41

I can kind of see, Justin, like if I were just to look at your bio, I would not guess a creative agency, right? Because your background is kind of in software tools development. And so I would have guessed, I don’t know a custom shop where you’re developing SaaS or apps or something but I think maybe We, I assume your wife has influenced this as well, because you co-founders with your wife. So talk about that a little bit. And in starting the company with your wife, what was the initial thought? Because again, even though it’s corporate, it’s a leap to start your own business. What was the thought of that time?

Justin Frenette  5:23

The thought so I met Erin, we met socially, she was an art director at a local agency servicing BlackBerry HTC, Sunlife. At the time, smartphones were new, how you use the user interfaces on them are new. So that agency was doing a lot of work, creating videos and translating them in terms of educational video portals. Her frustration was stemmed from the fact that a everybody was running off to the big city, Toronto, work in front of agencies, nobody respected the relationship between design and development developers, were these golden boys that you threw the work over and you couldn’t talk to them or question them. And so she had been freelancing for a while. And she had a website project. And she asked if I knew how to build a website, and I said, sure, I can build a website. And that started our 10 year journey to where we are today at Him & Her, we went out to prove that you can start a world class agency, not in a big city, and that you can do it with design and development in house and you can do it better.

Jeremy Weisz  6:26

I’d love to hear what advice you have for people working with spouses or family. It’s not easy in general, especially starting new company, there’s a lot of stressors in there. What did you learn that other people should know? Then they may be have to overcome if they’re working with a spouse or family member.

Justin Frenette  6:52

I’d say number one that’s helped us through the years obviously, is trusting your partner knowing that they’re coming to you with feedback or an idea. They’re doing it in the best interest of both of you, not just for themselves. Second, and most important, be dividing and conquering the tasks and the ownerships when you’re both juggling ownership, that’s never a recipe for success, I’d say we probably had an easier end of that, because she was an art director, real creative side of the agency, and I drove the technical side of the agency. But we laugh generally, opposites attract. And So Erin, funnily enough was always the risk taker. So the first hire the first office lease, she was the one that pulled the trigger. And I was the one that was always like, Oh, I don’t know if we’re ready yet. And so I’m the opposite, I’d say in social and adventure. But in business, I was always more conservative. And I give it to her to taking those risks to get us where we’re at today. Those are the two major contributors that have led to our success.

Jeremy Weisz  7:54

What were some key hires, position wise, that helped you grow.

Justin Frenette  7:59

We had an interesting take on that. So our very first hire was actually Erin’s mom, she was our bookkeeper. We were the talent in the company. So if Aaron’s busy designing, and I’m busy developing, then we need to make sure invoicing and bookkeeping and all that was set straight from the beginning. So that was our very first hire, before our first designer and developer for production.

Jeremy Weisz  8:23

That’s interesting. So what was the next one after that? Now we get things even more complicated. You’re working with your wife and your mother-in-law.

Justin Frenette  8:30

We’re going with wife mother-in-law out of our home, we converted our master bedroom into the office. So we hired at the time, when we really got into it, Erin left her job to go full time we had hired Sandy, we hired a full-time designer. And I had switched from BlackBerry over to Magnet Forensics, another pivotal role in my career, I helped build out their Salesforce system, which was a foundation for their fast-paced growth. They went public and just recently sold private. They’re a huge success story. They were a client of ours over the last 10 years. But it got to the point after those first couple hires that we needed to hire a developer, I couldn’t do all the development work in the evenings. So I went to Magnet and said, hey, I got to go do this. I’m gonna regret it later in life, if I don’t try and build this company with my wife. And I said, what I do for you in this office, I can do remote. So why don’t you guys stay on as a client? And Adam and John over there? said yes, and trusted me. And that was pivotal. And so our developer joined the team and I jumped in full time.

Jeremy Weisz  9:36

That’s my next question is like, how you got your first clients and customers? So was that an easy sell hard sell to be like, hey, listen, you can pay me for this project. And now you don’t have to pay my taxes anymore because the amount of staff member I mean, what was the conversation like there?

Justin Frenette  9:54

It was easier than I thought they wanted to keep me. They didn’t want me to leave and start my own agency. But the reality was there were some cost savings. The reality was, the value I was offering them was unique and hard to find at that time a sales somebody with Salesforce and development expertise. And so with that trust aid built up, it just made sense to keep it going. Ultimately, they got big enough, they hired somebody to take over that role. And that makes sense. That’s the agency life, you generally are working yourself out of a job. But our first couple of clients really founded on Erin’s, a couple years of freelancing, a pivotal and why you can never underestimate contacts and your network is we had met a small bookkeeping agency accounting agency, that probably connected us to our first 10 or 20 clients. And that was a found HR growth when we were small, just seven people, you’re dealing with a lot more small businesses. And that’s critical, because you have to build up your portfolio and your trust and your repertoire to get to the next bigger, better companies. And so that conversation in a networking event with a bookkeeper led to most of our first clients.

Jeremy Weisz  11:09

What was oftentimes, I’m not going to my bookkeeper or accountant and saying, hey, I need development work. How was that even happening? Or did they have a unique type of practice?

Justin Frenette  11:23

They had a very unique practice, they were very successful. They sold their business several years later. And they did well on that sale. Really, it started with a rebrand and a website launch for them. And when you look back at what you charged for your first project, it’s very cute.

Jeremy Weisz  11:42

What did that look like for you?

Justin Frenette  11:44

We I think, made $1,000 rebranding them and $3,000 for the website. So everything has a couple more zeros nowadays. But it was worth every hour we put into those projects, because they loved working with us to build that trust. So they recommended us to every other company they needed. And when you’re starting out, strategy side of it grew later, in later years. So it was very much production, design, branding, development. And so that was a lot of the work websites, brands, traditional marketing, print material, digital materials, but web was definitely unique websites and branding drove a lot of the growth before we started getting into the bigger, more strategic work.

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