My family is filled with creative entrepreneurs.
My grandfather was a small business owner. My dad has run his business for 30+ years. My mom has run her own business and so has my sister. We’re all experimental with creativity and entrepreneurship.
When we have family dinners, it can be louder than most family dinners. Conversations are lively and centered around the creative thing we’re currently working on. There’s a rhythm to the conversation unlike any other.
I find myself thinking about these things a lot, now that I’m working on a new business experiment. It’s rare to come from a family of entrepreneurs, which I never truly appreciated until now. It makes me feel like I have the right pedigree — for whatever that’s worth.
It’s that theory. You know, “to understand where you’re going, you have to understand where you’ve been.” Then again, I’m the daughter of an historian, so I might be biased about understanding the past.
One of my first business ideas I had made me laughing pretty hard recently. I’ll call it the first entrepreneurial idea; the truth is that I was earning income long before this idea came along.
The idea came to me at the ripe ol’ age of 12.
When I was that age, I did what a lot of young people do: babysit.
I read The Baby-Sitters Club all the time. At the library, I’d check out six at a time when given the chance. It was the way I learned about my babysitting business and how to run it well.
Advertising for my babysitting services was done by word of mouth and fliers posted at the neighborhood clubhouse. To babysit, I rode my bike to houses in the neighborhood. Eventually I borrowed a car to get there — even before I was legally allowed to drive. Shhh.
Truth is, I also got bored while babysitting.
The kids fell asleep early. Then I had several hours to kill in a quiet, different-smelling house. Alone. And I obviously couldn’t fall asleep on the job. Every now and then I’d watch TV since we didn’t have cable at home.
But, for the most part, I’d daydream about entrepreneurial things during those quiet hours. Like you do.
One night I came up with a brilliant idea. I knew it’d be a big hit.
My target market lived close by, making them easily accessible. I also knew they’d have the disposable income to pay for the service. They had already bought Girl Scout cookies from me, so they might be open to other ideas. Most importantly, they’d also really appreciate what I was offering. There was immense value in it.
The gig? Being a personal, professional photographer for hire.
Remember, this was the age of 35mm slide shows. Digital cameras and iPhones weren’t a thing yet. Most people had crappy vacation pics.
So I would offer to travel on vacations with you and your family. Kind of like your personal paparazzi, getting awesome shots of you doing awesome stuff. Instead of the standard, horrible vacation pictures everyone else comes home with.
Fliers made with markers to advertise the service were easy enough. I’d have my dad make copies it, just like we did for the babysitting ads. This was going to be a big success, I just knew it.
So I pitched my parents.
They shot me down immediately.
Something about safety, being a young girl, and traveling with “complete strangers.”
I was livid!
Didn’t they know that this was a brilliant business move? How could they tell me no? We were all going to get rich! I’d finally be able to travel the world doing something I loved!
Turns out … they were just being good parents.
Mom and Dad sent me back to the drawing board — safe and sound. I’m thankful for it. The risk wasn’t worthwhile.
Some risks in business are totally worthwhile, though. I’m constantly taking risks in how I make films, raise funds, and share my work. I’ve actually grown quite comfortable with the risks of independent filmmaking.
Besides. When you get down to it, isn’t everything in life a risk? Falling in love bears the risk of a broken heart. Moving to a new city bears the risk of losing old friends. Even something simple like crossing the street bears the risk of getting hit by oncoming traffic.
Now that I’ve gotten comfortable in the uncharted territories and chaotic space of making indie films, it feels less risky. Funny how that works. You step outside the norm and then that becomes the new norm.
Since I’ve gotten a better grasp of how to do some indie filmmaking things, I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned with others who might be struggling to figure it out. I struggled a lot. And there are too many great stories for us filmmakers to waste time trying to figure this stuff out.
That’s why I’ll announce something new at the next TriFilm social on Thursday, August 28th.
Sharing the details with you live, in person is so exciting. I can’t to tell you all about what I’ve been working on. The timing just happened to be perfect.
See you there? Register for the TriFilm social and get more info here.
By the way, if you can’t make the social, don’t panic. Sign up for monthly email updates by clicking here. The next email update will include plenty of specifics about this announcement.