I was watching an interview with one of my favorite budding filmmakers yesterday and when asked what advice he had for those just starting out in the film world he gave three incredible pieces of advice, all of which apply unbelievably well to the entrepreneurial world.
The first is to use your smallness to get away with things that the bigger companies can’t. As a smaller entity you can get away with taking bigger risks and doing those seemingly crazy, out of the box things, that a larger company with more accountability to their superiors can’t. As Matt Johnson says in the interview, “Find the places where you have the power to do something the powerful people can’t do.”
The second is to get comfortable with failing and to stop waiting for everything to be perfect. If you wait for the conditions to be exactly right (IE you’re skilled enough, you have the right equipment, the right mailing list count, etc) you may never get started. But if you start now, you can use that time to get better so that by the time you have the opportunity to do something where the conditions ARE exactly as you want, you have the confidence in yourself and your work to rise to the occasion.
The third is to take your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. In his example, he wanted to make a movie but knew that he had a few problems: he and his friends couldn’t act, they couldn’t shoot, and they didn’t have a budget. So he asked himself, “how can we make those the best things about our movie?”
So what did they do? They made a movie where the main characters were high school kids filming themselves, who didn’t know how to make a movie. (By the way, that movie, ‘The Dirties’ went on to win and be nominated for several awards including Best Narrative Feature and Filmmaker Choice award at Slamdance. I highly recommend it.) They made a movie within a movie. Now, it made sense that the filming, acting, and quality would be on the low-budget side, because it fit with the narrative.
In all of these examples, there runs one common theme—making the most of what you have, and finding a way to hone in on your unique situation and talents to make them not only work, but work really well.
Because I’m the kind of girl that loves a good assignment to get me motivated and in gear, I have a few for you. The first is to brainstorm 5 ways that being an emerging force in your field is actually an advantage, and how you can leverage that.
The second is to think of one thing you’ve been hesitant on creating/releasing and get it out there within the next week. No excuses, just get it out there. Trust me, people will thank you for it. They’d rather see something with rough edges than nothing at all.
Thirdly, think of 3-5 weaknesses that you believe you have as a business and come up with an equal number of ways that you can turn those weaknesses into your strengths.
What did you think of Matt’s advice and this week’s tips? Reply back and let me know!