When my husband and I moved to Hollywood 11 years ago we were bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Well, mostly me. My husband was a child actor and spent his time between Utah, where he grew up, and Burbank, where children go to chase their dreams (or their parents;). He had left the industry at 19 but knew he always wanted to get back.
We met years later in Salt Lake City. After we were married we decided that we needed to give his dream of being a filmmaker a shot – before we got settled and had kids – so we left our friends and family and moved to the city of dreams.
Even though I had never lived in LA, having lived in NYC, I knew I loved the energy and culture of big cities and LA had sun, which growing up in the winters of Montana and Colorado, was a big selling point. I was excited that we were going to move to LA so he could quickly get hired as the next “it actor” or “director.” I remember early on encouraging my husband to just “go get” an agent or manager.
“Babe, just send them your headshot and resume. They will totally just want to represent you.”
He obviously knew better, having been in the industry since a teenager, but he did still send out his headshot, or maybe I did, and as expected no one called begging to sign him.
I wanted and expected things to happen very quickly. To go from Step 1 to Step 100 instantly, without much effort on our part. I knew what we wanted and what needed to happen so I just wanted to get to it already.
But, just like everything in life, you must travel the road, experiencing success and failures along the way in order to be personally fortified for the long journey. It’s the friction of the ups and downs that builds our skills and confidence – just like building muscles.
Muscles aren’t just built overnight. It is the process of lifting weights or pushing that muscle that actually causes tiny tears in the fibers of the muscle. The body then repairs and then prepares that muscle to better handle the friction and tears as you continue to progress and evolve.
There is no quick way to do this. It is over time with diligence and hard work and a lot of tearing and falling that you build up that confidence and experience. But how do you stay motivated to get to the end of your goal when it seems so far away?
Here are tips I’ve learned in my entreprenerial career.
Be Your own Impetus
While it would of been nice for my husband to just be discovered sitting around at a coffee shop as the next “it” director or actor, he didn’t bank on it. He decided to direct, produce and write his own film. This was about the same time we had our first daughter and I was wanting to be with her more. Knowing I was in charge of what I wanted my family life to look like I quit my corporate job and my husband and I started a production company.
We took our career path in to our own hands and created a film that was accessible and within our resources and would move us towards our goal. Nearly three years after leaving my corporate career we premiered our first documentary film, “Best Worst Movie” at SXSW, winning Honorable Mention for the Audience Award.
Everything is happening FOR YOU not TO YOU
Love the experience for what it is, not what you want it to be. We often forget that to be human and live the human experience it entails experiencing ALL emotions. When you change the way you view negative experiences in your life it allows you to see what that moment is teaching you.
Start where you are
So many people don’t get ever get started on that business they wanted to start or that idea they wanted to launch. It is often overwhelming and usually crippling to think of everything that needs to get done. While you need to have a goal and a vision in place for the long run, start doing small things every day to get the momentum rolling.
Allot 20 minutes every night for researching an idea or maybe it’s a weekly lunch with a friend that can give you tips and insight into starting a business. Even 20 minutes a day for a full year adds up to 1,200 hours a year!
Find mentors and others that have walked the path before you. Take them to coffee or lunch or just be prepared to ask one question every other time you see them (give them some space;).
When I left my corporate job and my husband and I decided to start a production company I looked for as many female working moms in the film industry that I could find and I reached out to them for guidance. What I found is they were more than HAPPY to help. I would take them to coffee or lunch or just ask them a quick question at school pickup or drop-off. And they were there for me to call, email or text when I had a question about something I had never done before (which was a lot;)
There is room for you too
When my sister and I had the idea to start SisterUp we were so excited and knew it was something that was so needed. We began to research to see what the marketplace looked like and came upon a woman that had just launched a business with the same type of idea. I was devastated that the idea we were so excited about had already been taken and for a moment thought of just giving up. It was actually reading one of her articles about there “being space for all of us” that I realized that although our mission is the same our voice and experiences are unique, making our product unique.
Don’t Compare Your behind the scenes footage to other peoples highlight reel
This is one that I definitely struggle with. It’s easy to get caught up in how other people are doing so well or are so successful when you are seeing them at the top of their career or even just how they are portraying it through social media. I have yet to meet one entrepreneur that had an idea, launched it the next day and everything went so smoothly that they instantly became millionaires. Everyone you see has had failures and struggles along with the success. Even those that seem to have it all together.
Last month I attended the premiere of Girlfriend’s Day, a movie my husband directed for Netflix, starring Bob Odenkirk and Amber Tamblyn. Although that was a huge milestone for us, especially my husband, I’ve found myself grateful for the many failures and blunders along the way that helped us build our business muscle and has left us more confident and stronger then we were 11 years ago when we moved to Hollywood as bright eyed newlyweds with our dreams, fears, hopes and our 1 year old German Shepherd.