By: Safiel Vonay
Creating a community is no easy task. Even more, starting from the bottom up, as a tiny open mic in a basement- without knowing what the hell I was doing led me to plenty of obstacles along the way. Regardless, as a creative, as a founder and as a visionary to this growing movement, mistakes came frequently. I thought it would be helpful to my Creators out there to share my top 5 mistakes in this journey, in order to illustrate the Grind and hopefully help someone out there working on their own Grind.
Mistake #1: Going with the Flow
I do believe that going with the flow of life can lead us to amazing things. However in my journey through creating this movement, i realized that I frequently ignored looking at the bigger picture of things from early on. Because my team and I were so busy putting events together, networking, working and simply Grinding… it was difficult to sit down and clarify exactly what I was doing and where I wanted to be. If you’re a creative, a coordinator or a Grinder, sit down and spend a good amount of time literally drawing out the vision you have for your brand, company, etc. It might be annoying, but it’ll give you so much more clarity and control over where you are going and help you lay out a roadmap.
Mistake #2: Saying YES to Everything and Everyone
Although, this one has also benefitted me so much as well, I found myself doing things that didn’t align with my vision or my movements vision because I’d say YES to too many things. Performances, vending opportunities, parties from friends, event invitations, chill sessions, shoots etc. With time I realized that saying YES to everything was actually holding me back from focusing on the brand and the things I knew I HAD to do to grow. You don’t need to be rude, and supporting others something I still do when I can, but if you are saying YES too much and it is taking away from your work and your vision, kindly decline things that may not fit your visions schedule. If people make you feel bad because you can’t say yes to them, rethink your relationship with that person. Its terrible to feel like you need to support someone simply because they supported you… favors for favors isn’t REAL support. Make that clear with yourself and focus.
Mistake #3: Doing everything by yourself
Similar to my last mistake, but I see this one a bit differently because it has more to do with doing too much within your own business, company, etc. When we first started off I was; making flyers, buying inventory, printing the flyers, cutting each and every one of them, printing business cards, going out to promote, recording the events, editing the recordings, taking pictures, editing pictures, publishing everything… and the list endlessly goes on. Yes, in the beginning you may have to put on almost all the hats, but as you start getting a flow of things, find people with aligned visions that would be willing to do what you’re doing to their fullest potential. Outsource some of your workload. Look into apps, widgets, sites, and technology that can help you automate some of that work. It’ll help you focus on what is most important to you.
Mistake #4: Mixing Personal Life with Business
This is something that I knew I shouldn’t have done since the beginning , but hey, some of us learn the hard way. Working with fam, friends etc can be super exciting, and sometimes it actually does work! But it is so easy to get personal problems and business wrapped up with each other. This can become an issue for both you and your personal relationships. It’s difficult to concentrate on work when you or your teammates are fuming or frustrated. And it can lead to bigger problems moving forward. My lesson from this mistake; SEPARATE THE TWO. If you plan on working with friends, lovers, etc, test out the relationship first before you skydive into a blackhole that becomes extremely stressful to climb out of.
Mistake #5: The Free Myth
I always thought FREE meant more. The cheaper something is the more people would be interested in it. It took me years to realize that FREE can actually downplay the relevance of what you are doing. Unless you are strategically giving away something for FREE, rethink the notion that it’ll be successful for that single fact. Here’s why. Not too long ago, I decided to throw a FREE event for all of my lovely Grinders. I wanted my artists to come and network with each other and learn how to connect. With the great success we’ve had with all other events, I thought this event would easily bring out 100 people. We had over 200 RSVPs for the event, but sadly on the day of the event about 15 people attended. It was pretty embarrassing and disappointing, but nonetheless a learning experience. I’ve had plenty of similar events happen which has given me a different perspective on FREE. I’m not saying Free things NEVER work, i’ve just learned that it is not always better to do free, give free, make free and expect a huge turn out.
There’s many more mistakes I’ve done in the beautiful journey to creating our movement, but these are the top ones. The biggest lesson i learned about making so many mistakes is that you should actually want to make them! When you are starting out a new venture, fail as fast as you can! Learn fast from all your mistakes and use each lesson to become better! Don’t be afraid of failing, it’ll be worth the experience!
Hope this helped someone out there with their Grind. Let me know what your mistakes have been as a creative below!