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Running A Creative Agency As An Introvert

Hale Team sitting at a table and smiling at the camera

There are those creative directors who hop on client calls with a big smile and blow everyone away with their energy and enthusiasm.

There are those leaders around the office who are spouting off inspirational quotes and organizing social events for their team.

There are those who can't wait to head to happy hour after a shoot so they can relish in the day.

Then there's me.  

I barely make it through our Monday meetings. If I see more than one client call on the calendar in a given day I spend much of the morning in existential crisis. After a shoot, I drive home in silence.

It's not that I don't like people. I love our team and our clients (well, most of them ;)). I just can't live in a state of constant interaction. And as a producer/photographer on set, it's basically my main responsibility. And I wonder if it negatively affects my business to not extend myself 100% with clients, talent, contractors, etc. 

Then I look at the team and the environment we have created as a company and am eternally grateful we don't have that generic agency vibe. Everyone is doing their own thing. People have interests outside of work. We talk about meaningful things. It's a mini reflection of the social dynamics I'm comfortable around. And it tends to attract clients that are very pleasant to work with.

We don't have to be extremely outgoing to be extremely good at what we do.

I was recently prompted to write down the company vision for Hale. Nothing work related came to me.

I have few goals of world domination. If you told me I was going to open a Hale in every city I would change my name and move to the Bahamas. I don't need to produce content for Adidas or Coca-Cola or Sony (although I'm happy having them as rental clients). In fact, working in that kill or be killed creative dynamic is incredibly unappealing to me.

I just want to work with solid and thoughtful clients who communicate with respect and approach each project like a collaboration. Clients that are comfortable being around me when I am being myself. I want to produce content that is so good it impacts consumer decision making and makes our clients fall in love with their own brands.

I also want to live a good life. Full of hobbies and plenty of time between client calls. And I want our employees to live good lives as well. Which requires financial stability. Cashflow. A good work process and service ROI that makes it easy for clients to give us business.

We can accomplish all of this without going to happy hour.

It's true that we'd probably have more clients, more fame, and more revenue if I was a human hype machine. If I was constantly talking about work instead of tennis, or horses, or movies, or how excited I was for a 3-day weekend. But that's just not me.

I've spent a lot of the last 6 years thinking I needed to do more. More networking. More socializing. More sharing. More growing. More talking about work. But the reality is, I like what we've got going on. And $4,000,000 in revenue in our first 6 years without a single client happy hour ain't too bad :)

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