Why Emerging Studios Get Stuck | RevThink

Why Emerging Studios Get Stuck

How creative businesses break the US$ 1MM barrier.

A message from Joel Pilger


Yes, I wish this were true.

Perhaps you run a studio, agency, or production company. You create killer motion, animation, production, branding, experience, or sound design on a daily basis.

That’s great. I applaud your drive and ambition. But if that’s you, I bet you’ve probably said something like this before:



“This is the year when my business is finally going to reach THE NEXT LEVEL.”

At some point, all owners talk about reaching this elusive, mystical “next level.” But what does that really mean?

In my experience, the next level is where your firm consistently (1) stands out, (2) produces brilliant creative, and (3) is highly profitable.

If that is what the next level looks like, yes, no wonder everyone wants it!

I don’t mean to sound glib. But I do know this hard truth:

Everyone wants it. Few achieve it.

So what is the difference between the few *great* firms and all those *good* firms that are stuck?

The difference is a little-known transition through which every firm must go. It’s where the business lets go of their past success (which is holding them back) so they can embrace a new way of doing business.

At RevThink, we call this transition “The Shifts.”

You know you’re ready for The Shifts when the old excuses no longer serve you, for example:

“There is so much competition out there…”
“Our clients don’t have big budgets….”
“We just need to get in front of the right people…”
“If we just keep doing good work, the rest will come…”

Each of those is a myth that we tell ourselves so we can avoid making fundamental changes.

This really bothers me. It’s a huge problem. And I know, because I’ve been there.

Yes, I was once an owner like you. And rwhen unning my own studio — Impossible Pictures — I struggled my first 7 years. It was painful. But in year 7, I made five big changes. After that, my business started growing.

Impossible gradually climbed from “they are an up-and-coming shop” to eventually reaching “they are one of the top studios” status. (By “top” I mean Impossible grew to $5MM in annual revenue with a team of 25 employees and, most importantly, we produced some really great work)

So if you’re wondering:


It was honestly embracing these fundamental truths:

1. GREAT WORK only comes from…
2. BETTER CLIENTS WITH BIGGER BUDGETS who can be reached with…
3. POWERFUL OUTREACH which is powered by…
4. NARROW POSITIONING that flows from…

If you are interested in learning The Shifts, I recommend you watch my session called “Why Up-and-Coming Creative Firms Get Stuck.” In the presentation, I walk through the concept so you can apply it yourself and start reaching for the next level.

The session is free so I invite you to click on REGISTER in the blue bar below.

There’s no sales pitch. Like my articles, podcast, public speaking, etc., I hope it helps you on your journey.

– Joel

This session is free and contains no sales pitch. Your email will only be used to notify you about the upcoming session.


In his role as Consultant at RevThink, Joel Pilger advises eminent studios, agencies, and production companies. His clients are based in the US and 23 countries around the world. For two decades prior to consulting, Joel helmed Impossible Pictures with a team size of 25 employees / $5MM annual revenue.