Entrepreneurship is about transforming an idea with an acceptable amount of risk into something of value. Today, success in the fine arts requires good business sense and the same level of tenacity needed to launch a high tech startup.
We’d like to share the entrepreneurial journey of an up-and-coming music producer named Quron “Q” Witherspoon. Q exemplifies the drive, ambition and tenacity of an entrepreneur who is committed to fulfilling his vision. “Q the Rebel” produces music for artists throughout the world as well as movie scores, commercials and others who need musical production. Below, Q discusses his experiences and shares his advice for other “entertainment entrepreneurs”.
A. It all started the day I was pulled on stage with Pharrell Williams. I was always a musician but I finally found my destiny when I was in front of a crowd of thousands….understanding that my new purpose was to produce music and push my creativity to higher heights. Six years later, I am working with great people in the industry and I even had the pleasure being in the company with Pharrell several times. What an honor.
Q. How did you fund your business to its current state?
A. I was in the military in the beginning of setting up my business. I saved up every dollar, sold my car and everything I could think of just to buy a piano and recording software. From there I took on several small jobs to keep my funding alive like shooting pictures and videos for clients. It was the hunger and drive for success that kept me alive and going, not to mention support from those that believed in me.
Q. ActSeed champions the need for solid planning and preparation from the very beginning. How important is planning and prep to your company’s success?
A. Planning is extremely essential in today’s industry. It can be the very cusp to your success or the sharp downfall to your failure in any project. That’s why its important to make sure you thoroughly act out every move, take notes on each move that needs to be made, etch out your execution and then….attack! One example I can share is planning a music video shoot. Every scene in the shoot needs to be visited. Scout all of the players/actors that fit your roles and set a casting for them. Write a thought out script for your actors, and even cameramen that need to know what scenes are being shot. Rehearse the scenes play by play to prevent any hiccups for the real deal. Follow these very steps and you will surely have a smooth official music video!
Q. How long did it take to get your idea into the market from initial concept to first customer?
A. With this business you have to pay your dues, basically handing out a lot of free music for an extended period time or even favors that need to be fulfilled for those that you’re under. So for me it took close to five years before I started to see fruit from all of my seeds that I’ve sowed to the many clients I’ve been connected to. When that day comes, however long it takes, you’ll be more then glad you put in the time and efforts back then because the payoff will be more then sweet, it will be the highlight of your life.
Q. What influence have the internet and social media had on the way you are marketing, selling and supporting your products and/or services?
A. Major! The music industry is finding more and more cleaver ways to branch out new talent and artist that are hungry for success. So for me it’s the best way to keep me connected to my supporters. I usually take an hour or so out my day to reach out to those that have supported me, reached out to express their opinions about my work. One of the greatest ways to get your product out the fastest with the largest impact is word of mouth. One person tells two. Two tell four. Four tell eight and so on. Word travels fast so be sure to give 1000% to everything you do! It will show and people will speak on it!
Q. Describe the challenges you face as you build your customer base, including defining the customer target, establishing the right price and pricing strategy and of course, closing the first few deals.
A. One of the biggest challenges I had to face in building my clientele was coming up with various ways to stay relevant and continuing to outdo the last major project I successfully created. This is something that will always have your supporters gravitate to your work and spread it through word of mouth. In this business, music has the ability to adapt and change with a blink of an eye. You, as the producer, are responsible of rolling with the tides or you may even be put into position to create a new shift (genre) in music.
Q. What techniques have you used to establish credibility in the eyes of customers, investors, partners, personnel and the general public?
A. My ability to be such an appreciative person when it comes to doing business with others and having an honest mindset is so important. When people feel like you are delivering this to them they automatically become comfortable with you. With that, establishes a bond and possible a life long lasting collaboration and they may be able to bring you others that will be in need of your work. Again, it’s all about your attitude towards others and how you represent yourself.
Q. Have government, university, or other community / economic development programs been useful?
A. Absolutely! Attending Full Sail University was a great decision on my part. That school allowed me to be so much sharper as a music producer, understanding the engineering side of music. At the same time, I gained more technical knowledge in my production allowing my recordings to sound that much closer to perfection. To me learning the art of music theory, vocal arranging, technical sides of production and properly running a recording session is what a producer suppose to do. It completes the circle and what separates the great from legendary.
Q. In business, there are many “intangibles” that are vital to survival and success, such as defining a company culture and building trust within your team, customers and strategic partners. How important are these intangibles to you and how have they already impacted you and your business, good or bad?
A. To me it’s another extremely important tool. Trust is so vital to have in any teams based company or collaboration works. You want to be sure you can count on those you have put the effort in working with. Nothing is more assuring then knowing the people you work with can get the job done effectively and efficiently. All these things have impacted my business in great ways, at the same time there were lessons learned throughout them.
A. You would always get the occasional “it’s too risky” or the “you will never have enough funding to survive.” To be honest, the most successful people in this business have fallen plenty of times before and that was the very thing that drove them closer to success. The greatest barrier to success is the fear for failure and the only real failure in life is not trying.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t ask you in the questions above?
A. One thing I practice commonly is to speak everything and anything you want in your business and career into existence. In life I believe that the Law of Attraction is real and powerful. There are countless times where I can recall me saying that I wanted something to specifically happen and it did right then and there, or sometimes a few years later. The moral to this, when you are given a gift, called to lead or have a vision, ALWAYS remember to train your body, mind and soul to believe you can obtain all those great things you’ve always wanted. Be sure to remain humble at all times, and very appreciative to all and anyone that helps you on your road to success. You are hearing this from a person that is living by this now, and reaping nothing but positive benefits!