If there’s anything I learned while working in local television news – it’s how to get ‘er done! Truly. The intense daily deadlines, performance pressure and need to multitask prepared me well for entrepreneurship. Running my film production company, Stories to Inspire, requires those same skills and some of the great TV sayings I also learned apply. Here’s a few that entrepreneurs and employees can learn from.
- “Make air, not art.” – I often heard this when a photographer or reporter would get so caught up in making sure every detail was perfect, that they would miss their deadline or live shot (MAJOR NO- NO…LIKE MAJOR). Yes, it’s important to produce quality work, but there is no such thing as perfection. “Perfection paralysis” will eat up your time and in today’s fast-moving world – “ain’t nobody got time for that.” There are deadlines to meet, meetings to attend and happy hours to get to. So, strive for excellence instead. Excellence means you know when to stop because you’ve done the best you can.
- “It’s better to ask for forgiveness, than permission.” – Hmm. I have to admit I relied heavily on this saying each time I showed up at an apartment complex to knock on doors in search of an interview. It usually didn’t take long before the “go-kart police” would come and usher our news crew off the property. But, by that point – we already had our interview! Okay…so this is probably not the best advice. But it proves the point that if you sit around and think about something too long or wait to cut through the red tape, you might just miss out on an important opportunity. Sometimes, you just have to make your own rules and go for it – especially when it comes to pursuing your dreams.
- “Fake it til’ you make it” – Those who work in television have mastered the art of smoke and mirrors. I have seen many young reporters have no other choice but to hit the ground running, myself included. No amount of schooling can prepare you for the world of journalism. It is fast and furious and if you don’t get up to speed quickly – you’ll tank. So until you get up to speed, fake it. Don’t know something? Heck..google it! As a new entrepreneur or employee, soak up all the information you can, ask questions, read and learn quickly from your mistakes. Before you know it, you will no longer be faking it, you’ll become it.
- “The show must go on” – I can’t count how many times things went wrong behind the scenes and somehow, my story still made it on the air. The audience never knew. Editing machines would go down within 10 minutes until deadline, audio wouldn’t work, interviewees would cancel and let’s not forget the time I spilled a drink down my shirt just before airtime. What did I do? – turned the shirt around. The show had to go on. As a business owner, things will inevitably go wrong, but it’s up to YOU to keep the business on track. It’s up to YOU to problem –solve and find innovative solutions to stay in business. Giving up is not an option and if you hang in there, you’ll come out stronger in the end. This leads me to the last saying.
- “Never let them see you sweat” – As the crime and court reporter, much of my job required me showing up at a breaking news scene only to be on the air within minutes. Often times, I had little information to go on, but I had to appear calm, cool and collected. All I could do was take a deep breath and report what I knew and describe what I saw. As a business owner, you may feel unprepared for a meeting or presentation. This is where instincts come in handy. Focus on what you do know and NOT what you don’t know. Following your passion and your dream makes this a lot easier.
All in all, my decade working in local news was invaluable and I am still very much passionate about journalism and telling stories that enlighten and impact people. Bottom line – we all have to start somewhere. So until you become it, hang in there and fake it ’til you become it.