Light in two senses of the word.
- Starting to finally see some light at the end of the tunnel, and...
- The necessity to travel light in this world, both physically and emotionally
As of writing this — I have been building The Other Comedy Company for 425 days. I've had to operate as a lean as possible to get to this point or else I would have tapped before 100 days.
Here's where we're at and what I've learned so far:
- Refined the business model. The initial build-time for the laughter-based learning experiences was about 8 months and then another 3 months on the more retail-friendly workshops which just launched today. We now have three precise business streams: Corporate Training Experiences, Personal Development Workshops & Live Comedy Shows where comedians get an affiliate deal to help bring business towards the corporate training and workshops. I can still build the product I believe in while working the comedians I believe in. Win/win.
- Expanded the business network. I will full-out admit my initial assumptions were WRONG. I thought the tech sector would eat up an innovative new approach to corporate training but with so much internal movement around recession-based layoffs it's made it difficult to penetrate that sector at this point in time. Pivoting towards manufacturing and product businesses have opened our doors to sales and leadership teams that I didn't initially think would be interested in the product. Connecting with businesses outside of my initial purview has become a priority so I joined my local Chamber of Commerce as a healthy next step to building those new relationships.
- Developed strategic partnerships. A great example is my partnership with Haute Goat who is not only hosting our first comedy festival, Jokes & Goats, but is also a corporate partner for our team-building experiences. We next-levelled our relationship by hosting a live demo for various chambers across Ontario to not only show them why Haute Goat is the perfect getaway for a corporate retreat but how The Other Comedy Company brings in that extra value by providing a fun learning environment as part of the day's intinerary.
- Adapted to feedback. There's been a lot of mistakes and missteps along the way but there's also been no shortage of feedback on how to improve those mistakes and missteps. The most priceless gift you can ever receive is constructive feedback. For people in my network to take time to review, contemplate and suggest corrections tells me they have faith in what I'm trying to do or else they wouldn't be wasting their time. If you're ever looking to build something on your own one day; make sure to create as many feedback loops as possible. The best way to build is through feedback.
- Explored alternative revenue streams. I have drive but on a personal level I came to a point where I needed to develop my patience and discipline. Without patience and discipline, my drive goes nowhere. So, instead of bashing my head against the wall during the low-times, I just found ways to diversify my personal revenue streams through virtual assisting, freelance marketing, event hosting and performing standup. You can't be so married to your build that you don't do what's necessary to keep your head above water. That's a mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make. They don't find ways to mix it up during the dry spells. The truth is, nothing happens if you crash and burn. Don't be so prideful that you're not willing to take on side work to make ends meet and don't let that be an excuse as to why you should quit. I plan on finishing what I started but it's a marathon not a sprint.
What does that mean for the next phase of the build?
- Hyper-localization. I've been operating under a zero-to-one mindset where I dream in miles but move in inches. Focusing on my immediate local area gives me quicker access to clients which in turn is quicker access to feedback. The more data I have at my fingerprints, the better, so when it comes time to scale provincially and nationally I'll have all the tools & resources necessary to do so without creating too much operational baggage.
- People network. Everything in business is about people and it's about working with the right people at the right time. There are some incredible businesses I would love to partner with in the future but if the timing doesn't align then you're doing the relationship a disservice. Focusing on clear deliverables with growth partners all starts with building healthy relationships where both sides understand their roles.
- Online expansion. The next phase is fluid with the rest of the build and will always be an important part of building a business: Telling our story. The best way to do this currently is online and creating content that not only showcases what we do but helps illustrate where we're going. Don't be surprised if a certain founder of a certain comedy company drops an ebook before end of year.
As the business builds and clients start rolling in — everything is about staying low, moving slow and keeping your eyes on the prize. Don't weigh yourself down with unnecessary pursuits, unhelpful expectations or overinflated ideas. Travel light, move quick. Be willing to pivot. Be willing to eat humble pie. Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and move towards the light.
Like always, if you're interested in having a conversation around what I've been building and looking to find ways to get involved, reach out to me directly at email@example.com.
PS: I know many comedians have been asking me to share my thoughts on Bill C-11 publicly and how that impacts comedy in Canada moving forward. I'm in the middle of trying to understand the different perspectives and seeking to get a high-level understanding of the impact this bill will have on Canadian talent. When I have a better understanding, I will make a video explaining what I learned and hopefully that will invite experts to weigh in to give us all a clearer idea on how to move forward.