This summer I decided to take a huge leap and try to document my life and business Gary Vaynerchuk style. I have been dreaming about having a media team for years but never quite knew how, or had the dollars.
I have done quite a lot through my own Instagram and Facebook page. I’m “very active” as most of my friends see it, and after a great winter season wrapped up following my journey to Pyeongchang to help cover the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, the Sledge Hockey Experience business was in a great place to finally give a shot at this “Document, Don’t Create” process.
I got the wheels in motion early. Around May/June I was tossing out feelers to some of my best film buddies. By August it had looked like things were lining up to begin. Then Gary released his 86 page deck on the GaryVee Content Model.
It was game on! I can’t tell you how stoked I was to get going on this with my team. It was going to work perfectly.
But it didn’t.
As I dive in to these lessons I’d like to point out that everything here is my fault. As most entrepreneur’s learn, it sometimes isn’t until you get through several weeks that you realized you are in over your head.
I am proud that “I went for it”, but hindsight is 20/20, and I learned a lot of lessons real fast (they will all serve me well later as the business grows). So without further adieu, here is my laundry list of hard lessons I learned trying to be like Gary Vee.
1. You need to be clear on what the vision is with all team members and help paint your vision well before you begin.
I thought the vision was clear, but it was not.
We began filming, and once we got in to reviewing edits I was confused as to why there was so much cinematography being put into the product when Gary’s style is so much simpler.
Just point and shoot.
What I discovered was that my videographer was filming with a Casey Neistat style in mind vs a simple point and shoot style. This created a lot of extra work and confusion when things could have got off to a much better start having sat down and discussed in more detail what style we were going for.
2. Having a camera follow you around is weird, even if you are used to having cameras around.
I had no idea how self conscious I would be until that damn thing was rolling on me all day.
I asked for it! So I had no one to complain to… but I was super tense at the beginning and had to ask the camera be turned off in some early meetings because I was super uncomfortable.
In fact, I was often more uncomfortable myself than my guests were!
Until I got used to someone else being there, it made it very hard to actually concentrate during my meetings, and that was a real problem because I needed to pay attention to my meetings and contribute to them. Otherwise, what was the point of being there?
I strongly believe it’s better to be good than to look good, and although filming my meetings may look cool in entrepreneurial land, it doesn’t mean squat if I’m not actually supporting the business moving forward at the same time.
3. Bringing on more than one new person at a time is very challenging.
My plan was to have one person be the project manager whom I would deal with directly, and they would help manage the videographer and editor for me.
What I didn’t plan for was how involved I would need to be as we got things going.
I know that sounds stupid I didn’t realize that, but that’s what your magical fairytale brain tells you when you start something new, “That it is all going to work out just as you planned!”.
We also brought on a writer at the same time, and I went from two employees in the company (Me + 1) to six, overnight.
What I should have done is hire one editor/shooter, then build the team one by one as we begin.
4. Rendering and exporting such a high volume of content takes time, and fast internet is extremely helpful.
When it comes to reviewing content that isn’t in house, rendering and exporting can be very time consuming. Our team was in a different location with internet speeds of only up to 50 Mps whereas our condo internet is 250 Mps.
That meant whenever we made adjustments, another upload/download was required, which caused frustration and killed a fair amount of time when you are already experiencing a very busy week.
5. Backing up that much data requires a lot of storage.
I believe it was something like 500GB/day that we would come home with in the first few shoots. Some days might be 300–400 GB, but all that footage needs to be stored on external hard drives, and backed up to the cloud.
My team did factor in the price of purchasing all the external hard drives, but it wasn’t until we got going did I realize how much storage we needed to buy and how quickly it would add up.
That was just a real “Oh, wow.” moment for me.
6. Reviewing footage takes time.
We tried to do 40 combined pieces of content per week.
Gary does 40 pieces of content from one keynote.
I thought we scaled it back far enough to learn the process, but you are not going to get things right the first time you do it. We had a super busy month as it was, and stopping our day to day operations while trying to keep up with other tasks became a real challenge reviewing all the content at the same time.
Had our production team been in house that would have made it 1000 times easier, but they were operating out of their office so there was extra steps involved in everything which took a lot of extra time.
7. You’re going to burn through batteries.
You can use rechargeable batteries, but they die faster.
Bring lots of batteries.
8. You need to create a great filing system.
I prefer Dropbox, but Google Drive has a better streaming platform.
Whichever way you go, make sure you are disciplined up front about how you organize your filing system. Don’t get carried away making too many folders.
Keep it simple.
9. Slow down to go fast.
Take smaller steps. There is no sense in leaping forward only to leap backwards. Taking small steps when growing your team and creating new content is much easier to manage if you take smaller steps, think things through, communicate, and be patient.
The rush is exciting, yes, but to build momentum you have to be methodical. No one wants to be a passenger on a runaway train.
The small steps done with diligence will get you to the same place, safely.
10. You’re not as bad as you think.
You’re going to be rough when you start, but you will get better fairly quickly. After the first two edits I was noticing a big difference in my comfort level, the flow of our episodes, and the team was continually finding more efficient ways to produce the content.
It takes challenging yourself to see what the next level is like before you know what to do next and how to grow.
When I look back on all of these lessons I am glad we went for it, and every lesson was extremely valuable that will serve myself and my team well over the next few years as we go for it again.
Next steps are to hire again a video/editor/shooter and begin working with one single person in house, and then bring on a writer and an experienced audio person to stitch pieces together for a podcast.
If you life in the Greater Toronto Area and would be interested in applying to be our next DRock, please email me at email@example.com with “I want to be your D Rock!” in the subject line along with some of your work!
We would love to bring someone new on board again ASAP.
If you would like to check out the work we did accomplish, here are episodes one and two of my vlog.