2020 has been our year of strategic investment. We’re only halfway through February, but it’s true. Around New Years, we decided to really double down on the efforts that I’ve been making and try to make this business flourish. We had done a couple of projects last year that we’re really proud of, and wanted to grow.
We’ve been investing time and effort for a long time, but also a fair amount of money. The truth is, in all three areas (time, effort, and money) we’d spent without much thought or strategy. That was the most important change for us to make.
With a couple hundred dollars free to spend on this company, I had to decide, do I want to buy another piece of gear, or do I want to expand my ability to exhibit our work. I upgraded so that our website could be updated and redone, and expanded my Vimeo plan to better showcase our work.
These were not fun purchases. I would definitely rather have purchased another lens, or a slider, or any of the many pieces of gear on my Amazon wishlist, but we needed those upgrades. We obviously use WordPress for this site, and it’s a great platform, but what they allow you to do is directly related to what plan you’re on, and as a small business we needed more customization. With Vimeo, we were unable to download any videos at full HD, because the file sizes were to big. You see, it’s not the most fun, or most interesting stuff, but it’s essential.
Whether you’re a restauranteur, or an artist, or craftsperson, you’re almost definitely facing these same kinds of financial decision making we are. It’s way more exciting to buy a new set of knives, or paint, or any other kind of tool than to pay the legal fees to incorporate, or to purchase a space at a convention or expo. The choice between fun and smart is tough. The way I like to look at it is, if I make the smart decision now, I’ll hopefully get to make the fun decision later.
Now, a month and a half in, with our site improved, and our higher resolution videos uploaded, it’s time to make another push forward. It’s time to invest time, effort, and money to showcase who we are in an even better light. This investment is closer to the fun investment.
Making a couple of videos that will push our work further, requires that we spend some money to ensure that we can get good clean smooth shots, which means we finally get to purchase gear! (In this case it’s somewhat low-stakes gear, basically a SmallRig baseplate and some smaller rods to be able to use my follow-focus, cinema lens, and gimbal together without there being any major issues.)
It also means hiring actors! We’ve been very lucky, that in the past we’ve worked on projects which have been documentary style, and required no actors. On the rare occasion we needed actors we’ve been able to pull from the friends and family categories, and not had to pay. We’re shooting a spec ad, something that we want to look pristine, and fresh, and that we have a very specific vision for, and in order to make it look good, we wanted to hire actors, and we did. It’s still a pretty low cost shoot, just a couple of hours, but it’s exciting none-the-less.
Investing in yourself, and your business, has to be strategic. Make the smart decision, so that you can make the fun decision. Perhaps more importantly, if you make the smart decisions, eventually the fun decision will be the smart decision. If your business is something you’re passionate about, I don’t really see how at some point these two ideas won’t converge.