I toss and turn at night. Just ask my wife, she’ll tell you all about it. She’ll show you the evidence in the form of sheets, covers and comforter not even gathered on my side of the bed, but passed over my spinning body to a pile on the floor next to me. We’ve taken to giving her a healthy lead when we go to bed by starting with the covers touching the floor on her side. I out run her every night.
We’re almost to the point of attaching another set of covers to the ones we have and going “double wide.” We already know it won’t work. My churning will make short work of it. I’m a worrier. I don’t have happy dreams (luckily, I don’t have bad dreams either,) I have anxious dreams. I’m just damn restless about the constant in my life: What more can I do?
We all do that to an extent, and I’m sure anyone reading this can relate to their life, their business, their relationships. I live in a business world where someone always needs a job. You can have a day where one client really breaks through, getting a gig that is life altering. One that enters them into a new realm of money, prestige, creativity. But, on the same day, you still have a client who just needs a job, any job, to make that month’s mortgage.
As objective as you can make yourself, as hard as you become to the realities of representing freelancers, it still tortures you. Perhaps there are agents out there where it dosen’t affect them. But, those people can’t possibly be in possession of a soul. Really, it’s my own damn fault. Me and my partners in crime are trying to take a dusty old industry and turn it on it’s ear. We’re using technology, social media, automation, marketing and carefully crafting a corporate culture that has yet to exist in our industry as a strategy and business model.
We keep noticing competitors copying things we’re doing and we are still a step ahead. All that is great, but there’s still a client out there that needs a job, and so my nightly comforter conveyor belt continues unabated. I read and read, study and study, implement and implement and WPA gets better and better. Not by virtue of me, but by virtue of us. Everyone is bringing new things to the party everyday. But still, there’s a client out there that needs a job.
So, where is the next innovation? The next breakthrough? What will bring us to the holy grail of 100% roster employment? Am I chasing something that will just never exist? I refuse to believe that. In some parallel universe somewhere, amidst the infinity of worlds with intelligent life, there is world where ‘The Artist’ did not win Best Picture and an agency called WPA has 100% freelance employment.
So, we try everyday to get a little bit better. We get ahead, we have setbacks, but we keep going. We try to hone our attention to detail, our communication and our commitment to each other and our clients. Don’t get me wrong. Things are going great. Things are just where they are supposed to be financially and culturally. Growth is right on track per the business plan. We just took a much bigger office space in Beverly Hills to accomodate our growing staff. But, oy, I just keep spinning at night. Someone, somewhere needs attention! The job is never done!
So, we recommit to innovate and build a company that not just sustains us, but one that honors our clients, our buyers and the filmmaking community at large. I want not just an innovation, I want THE BIG innovation. The agency innovation to top them all. But, what I’m learning is that exists as much as me sleeping in one position does. What does exist however, are a number of small innovations that can be strung together to be bigger than the sum of their parts. The key here is having the courage to explore and act on all the little things instead of waiting to think of the one big thing!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
So, I’ll keep tossing and turning. My wife will keep grasping at covers as they disappear and I’ll keep putting together the small things to keep moving forward.