(In case you missed my email on The Spectrum of Replaceability referenced below, find it here.)
I so appreciate readers who share feedback with me drawn from their own experience running a creative studio. Case in point, I found this note from Brandon, owner at ColourMovie in LA (shared with permission) particularly interesting:
“I just wanted to say (The Spectrum of Replaceability) is so true. It may not be for everyone, but it’s true for the brave, design-focused shops and individuals. In a nutshell, it’s the reason we are still in business since 2000.
I have tried to give this advice but it’s hard for people to execute. They tend to lower their prices – offering anything and everything – which pretty much spells the end.
It hasn’t been easy, but it has worked for us.
Thanks for all your tough love for agency owners. It makes the industry healthier.”
What impressed me in this note is Brandon’s willingness to give advice to other owners. Because sadly, when it comes to sharing industry best practices, some studio / prodco owners are not similarly inclined. They can’t help but think:
“Why should I share my knowledge with all these younger firms trying to beat me? Let them figure it out on their own.”
I get it. “All is fair in love and war,” right?
But there’s more to this than meets the eye: withholding your knowledge is zero-sum thinking. Why? Because those younger firms “figuring it out on their own” are the same ones promoting and normalizing many bad practices such as:
- Pitching for free
- Undercutting prices
- Accepting untenable payment terms
- Creating confusion with broad, “We can do it all!” positioning
Viewed in this light, perhaps now you can see how sharing your knowledge with your peers makes their firm stronger, as well as yours. And the entire industry, too.
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