Sari Famiglietti | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Sari Famiglietti

Background:  

Founded by actor, singer, dancer, and radio host Sari Famiglietti, Tampa-based Media Cre8tors LLC is a boutique marketing and communications company that produces content for a wide variety of media channels, including print, YouTube and social media, still photography, TV and film.

The Mistake:

I didn’t trust myself to break the mold and do things my way.

I was taking myself way too seriously when I finally decided to go out and start this business. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be business-savvy enough.

So when it finally came time to sit down and decide, "OK, well, I'm gonna start my business. But what do I want it to look like? What do I want it to be?" I started to take this venture, and myself, way too seriously, and I needed to step back. I was trying to fit myself into a mold.

I was thinking, "Oh, well, businesses have to be structured this way. In five years, I wanna be here and I want it to grow this much and I wanna have so many people." But the doubt just kind of started spreading from there … because I didn’t trust myself to break the mold and do things my way. It became a really corporate environment. When I took a step back, I was telling myself, "I'm so not corporate. I'm a creative. It's not gonna work for me."

About six months in, I started to realize that something's not right; it’s feeling forced. I started to feel uncomfortable because I had attracted people to work for me who weren't necessarily on the same page. I started to notice a lot of conflict – not only conflicts of ideas but personality clashes. And I'm wondering, "Why could that be?"

So, I stepped back to reflect, and I realized that by wanting to fit a certain mold and take myself so seriously, I’d attracted very good people to work and collaborate with me, but they weren't people who really saw my vision, or understood me and what I would like the company to be. I realized that I’d created a split personality for my business.

The creative mind and the business mind can coexist in the same person.

The Lesson:

You have to let things evolve naturally. And you have to not take yourself so seriously. Don’t try to force yourself into a mold, or force your company to evolve in a certain direction, because it really is a creature of its own. Don't try to force it to turn left if it’s gotta go straight ahead.

I came to realize more and more that the client didn't care if my staff have colored hair or if I have colored hair. They don't care if I have tattoos or the staff have tattoos. They care about the way they're treated and the overall creative product and how it works for them, and if we can deliver the results that we promised. So in the end, being true to myself and really reflecting back and taking a look at everything is what brought us to where we are today. Media Cre8tors is a product of a lot of self-reflection and asking, “What happened?" and "How can we do this better?"

When I started this company, I thought I would have to shut off my creative brain to allow others to be able to function in a business environment. But people adapt. People that will work best for me and the company are going to adapt to my free-flowing, fast-paced, and ever-changing lifestyle. I’ve come to believe that the creative mind and the business mind can coexist in the same person and the same business. 

Follow Media Cre8tors LLC on Twitter at @MediaCre8tors.

Photo courtesy of Media Cre8tors LLC

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