I’ve come to a point in my business where I realized that if I keep doing everything myself I’ll stay in place. There’s only so much I can do. Also, there’s a lot of stuff I CAN’T do, or don’t know how.
For some people it might be ok. Not everyone want to outgrow themselves. I could maintain my animation blog with just me and make a living from it. However, if I decide to become a CEO and hire people to do tasks I can’t do or don’t have time to, I’ll be able to multiply my efforts. Expand or plateau.
This was a turning point I was facing in the past 6 months. For me, it wasn’t really a question of do I want to expand or not, since I always knew I want to build a business that has the potential to become much larger than myself. For me, the question was how do I expand, and to what direction.
Step one – start small
I’m one to be very careful with the projects I pursue, since I believe that starting a project and not finishing it is worse than not starting it at all. My first taste of bringing in outside help was with one of my shows on the Bloop Animation YouTube channel.
I wanted to do a weekly news show, but I couldn’t afford the time to do research every week, so I brought in someone to help with that. This was a chance to test working with others on a small scale without much risk. That went great, and The Key Frame has just reached episode 50.
Step 2 – try leading a team
My second endeavor into team building was the making of my latests animated short. I’ve decided to gather a team to work on this one, after having worked by myself on my previous 2 shorts, feeling that if I want to make better films I need to have other people involved in the process.
This was done on a larger scale, and I’ve been able to build an amazing team of over 10 artists from different countries to collaborate on this passion project. We’re still hard at work at it and it’s going great.
This project has faced me with new challenges, including dealing with multiple types of personalities, people leaving the team or having to let some go. This was (and still is) a huge learning experience for me, but I feel like it’s a step at the right direction. When I eventually hire a team full time to function as a real animation studio I’ll be much more prepared.
Step 3 – Become a publisher
My first dabble with a guest product was publishing a book written by someone else. This was a huge deal for me. It’s one thing to have people helping on different projects (mainly non-profit ones), but it’s a whole different thing having someone create a fully fledged product to late be sold and become a part of Bloop’s line of products.
The idea to publish a book by my good friend Dean Movshovitz came about after he helped me create a great series of videos analyzing Pixar’s storytelling rules. The videos came out great, and we thought it’ll be a good idea to expand upon them in a form or a complete screenwriting book, focusing on Pixar’s story formulas.
After months of work, Pixar Storytelling was released to be the first Bloop product not created by myself. The book launched with a great success, selling hundreds of copies on the first 48 hours, becoming an Amazon #1 best seller under both Animation and Screenwriting categories.
Having my name on someone else’s work wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. I had to make sure the quality is up to par with what I consider to be amazing, but now, when the hard work is done, I’m so happy to have this book on my digital shelf.
Step 4 – hiring
This is the big one. Actually hiring someone. Paying someone to do work for you is a bit like gambling, or investing in stocks. I don’t know if I’ll get my money back, lose it, or make a profit. It’s risky. I’m currently paying an instructor to create a video course for me for an animation software I don’t know hot to use. It’s the largest amount of money I’ve payed anyone in my business’s short history, and I’m not entirely sure I’ll get that money back for about a year or so.
That’s ok though, I’m all about the long term, and that course will really add value to what I have to offer on the site. I’m completely behind that decision, despite the seemingly high monetary investment. It was a decision point in which I had to decided if I want to put money back in the business to make it better or bigger, or just take all the profits for myself. I chose investing. I believe it’s the only way for Bloop to grow.