Having a unique point of view is an important part of succeeding as an entrepreneur in any part of the economy. This truth strikes to the very core of what entrepreneurialism is — essentially the creation of a business that can solve a problem in a new and unique way. This line of thinking can be so important in determining the relative success of a new business idea that we wanted to take some time to explore it to better enable our readers to find success of their own. To do so, we turned to someone who has made a career out of his unique method of doing things — Paul Alan Smith. A look at the professional life of the agent and manager can give any burgeoning entrepreneur a leg up in their business endeavors.
The first thing to look at when examining the work of Paul Alan Smith is how his upbringing and other pursuits have informed his career. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s and 1970s, the entertainment professional had a front-row seat to some of the most pivotal political and societal discussions taking place at that time. Witnessing the activism that grew out of that era not only gave him a healthy appreciation for the power of following one’s ideals, it also instilled in him a lifelong appetite for fighting hard for his beliefs even in the face of overwhelming odds.
The viewpoints of the agent/manager have also been positively influenced by his numerous travels around the world. Those travels have generally come during pivotal moments in his life where he was seeking answers or looking to expand his horizons. These travels took him to areas as far-flung as the Middle East, India, and Africa, and helped him compare ways of life across the globe. This gave him extensive exposure to different societal norms and a healthy appreciation for the ways in which our own culture colors our perception of the world around us. These insights have paid off continuously throughout his sometimes-iconoclastic career.
Importance of experience
The entertainment professional’s latest business endeavor is the recently-formed New Deal Mfg. Co. Operating as both a talent agency and a management company (a rare combination), the firm clearly benefits from the strength of its founder’s ability to go against the grain. This ability, however, would be far less valuable if it wasn’t accompanied by a lifetime of experience in the entertainment industry itself. The importance of his past experience in building present expertise is one of the major lessons that can be drawn from the entrepreneurial success that Smith has achieved over the years.
That success began humbly enough, with a move to Los Angeles in the pursuit of an idealistic dream — the creation of an independent repertory company. Though that pursuit never came to fruition, it did help lead to a career in talent representation. That career began in the mailroom of Triad Artists and quickly progressed to a role as a full-fledged agent. After that, he would move through many other positions in the field of entertainment, including work as a television executive. These varied roles helped to inform him on a diverse range of topics in his profession and given him the confidence to pursue business ideas that may be non-obvious to others.
As mentioned above, one of the main ways this manifests in his current venture is through his firm’s status as both a talent agency and management company. This unique setup offers numerous benefits to the film and television directors he serves. One of the biggest perks is that the company has increased flexibility to partner with other companies that are already a part of a client’s representation team. This is due to the way in which it can perform the roles of either an agent or manager, depending on a client’s needs.
This example cuts to the core of what accounts for the success of many promising entrepreneurial endeavors — embracing one’s set of strengths. Since any area of business is typically highly competitive, it’s important to utilize those strengths when creating a new venture. These strengths might lead you down a path that is altogether different from the typical way of doing business, but when a new company finds success, that success often depends on the ways in which it is able to set itself apart from competitors.
Opportunity for expansion
This ability to embrace one’s uniqueness can also pay dividends beyond the immediate success of a business upon its creation, it can also help grow that business in new areas down the line. Looking again to the agent/manager’s career for an example, there are numerous instances of him using his passion for social activism to create positive changes in his workplace environments.
This has manifested in many different ways, but one stark example is through his work to promote environmentally-sound business practices. This can be seen through his push to create a recycling program in his office during his work as an agent in the 1980s. At that time, these types of recycling programs were rare, but he was able to create the program without financial approval by designing it in a way that paid for itself via a reduction in waste removal costs. This type of outside the box thinking is exactly the kind of skillset that can help entrepreneurs get ahead when they’re seeking to grow a business in new and different ways.
Though some new businesses can just seem like a variation on an existing theme, the power of a unique point of view is unquestionably important in the field of entrepreneurialism. Business professionals who can embrace that thought are often able to break the mold and create something successful in a manner that would otherwise be impossible. In this respect, the work of Paul Alan Smith can be an instructive roadmap for those seeking to build a company of their own. Look to his efforts in this space to see the true power of unique thinking when it’s applied to one’s professional life.
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