Last month I introduced you to the brilliance of The E-Myth Revisited and Michael E. Gerber. I broke down the basic principles of the book and the idea that in order to succeed in business we need to have a balance of skills and the correct mindset to be an entrepreneur. To have this balance, we need to be a combination of three different people: the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur. I walked through different ways to discover which of the three people you are the most, and then offered constructive ways you can incorporate the other personalities into your creative and business process. Missed all that goodness? Check out the article here.

This month, I want to tackle the second half of Gerber’s philosophy: the mindset. In numerous acting classes, panels, and discussions with friends, I have discussed the importance of mindset in this business. My philosophy with all this: work incredibly hard, be patient, be gracious, and have fun. Don’t be desperate or greedy, and remember that we are all in this together.

All those ideas are lessons I have learned from a young age, but there is another step to the process that I am just discovering. This step is the ability to plan for greatness and really know that you will get there. I don’t want to say dream of greatness because it requires a heck of a lot more work than your subconscious provides, although that is a start. One thing that Gerber brings up throughout the book is the idea of the Entrepreneurial Perspective. CEO’s begin businesses with the end in mind. The businesses that succeed begin as a mature business and continue to grow as a mature business. This focus on the end game is important because it allows entrepreneurs to build businesses that are easily scalable and can get bigger without their direct effort. Ever heard of passive income? That is the goal of all scalable businesses.

Know how that relates to our creative industry? The connections are actually pretty direct. The founder of IBM famously said that when he started his company, he knew that it would be successful. When you started acting or producing or directing, did you know you were going to be successful or did you just hope? If you are till just hoping, you need to take your beliefs a step further. If you aren’t a real buyer of the “power of the mind” or “thoughts become actions” mantra, consider this: when you know, you are more likely to take risks and invest in yourself. (Want more ideas about how to take risks: read this article!). When you know you are going to be successful, do you make more specific plans for your future?

Let’s make this even more concrete. If you know you are going to be successful, do you act differently? Dress differently? Treat people differently? I hope you always treat people with kindness, but do you carry yourself a different way? In a recent workshop, the brilliant casting director, Bonnie Gillespie, mentioned that you should never leave your house without looking like your brand. Her reasoning: you never know who might be standing next to you at the supermarket. It could be a director or casting director that might be considering you for a role and you want to sell yourself at every step of the process. In Los Angeles, the super bowl of acting, we need to be on our game 100% of the time.

Here is the thing, entrepreneurs do this too! They dress in a specific way to convey success and feel empowered. Look at an entrepreneur’s wardrobe. It usually doesn’t change throughout their success. Think about Steve Job’s turtlenecks or Mark Zuckerberg’s t-shirts. They dressed that way from the beginning because it was a part of their personal brand, and also says a great deal about their companies. For Steve Jobs, it was about the simplicity and solidarity of his brand, and for Mark Zuckerberg it was about taking the decision process of attire out of his hands entirely. I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that Mark started a company when he was in college and is still in that mindset in some ways.

No matter the reasoning, these two visionaries have stuck with their brand from the beginning and if you read their interviews, vehemently discuss that they always knew of their eventual success. It may take longer or shorter than you expect, but the knowing, the belief, and the planning must always be there.

As a final thought, just remember Gerber’s idea that “A mature business knows how it got to be where it is and what it must do to get where it wants to go.”  I will add that a mature business knows of its future success and plans for that success so that when the success happens, they are ready to ramp up to meet the challenge. Are you ready for your success or do you need to work on the know?

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