How do you know you’re an entrepreneur at heart? You walk the fine line between courageous and crazy. Often, on a daily basis.
In 1989, when Heidi McLean had a 2-year-old at her ankles, an infant in her arms, and a fledgling business venture on her hands, nobody had to tell her she was crazy. She knew she was. She also knew there was a need for Crew Connection, and later PayReel and CrewCloud.
It was a big year for Heidi and her husband, Gordon. Building a business under any circumstance requires hard work and commitment. Building a business while also building a family and a house—which they also did that year—requires extreme tenacity and a willingness to walk that line.
After 27 years at the helm of three successful businesses, Heidi has some hard-earned tips for entrepreneurs. Here’s the first:
Don’t give up when people tell you you’re crazy—which they will.
If it seems overwhelming at first, that’s because it is. Take small steps. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving slowly, just as long as you’re moving forward.
Heidi started Crew Connection a few short weeks after her second daughter’s birth, creating some immediate obstacles to overcome. Gordon rigged up the telephone with an earpiece used in the broadcasting business. It wasn’t quite a Siri-equipped headphone set, but it did the trick, allowing Heidi to feed Annie and be on the phone at the same time.
Early on, that was Heidi’s working reality: With baby in arms and a headset in use, she connected people in her network with each other. Her experience in television gave her the connections she needed on both sides—freelance video crews looking for work and producers looking for freelance video crews. One of her earliest clients, a producer on Cops, regularly needed good cameramen, lighting directors, audio engineers, producers and more across the country. Heidi was the main “connector” in Crew Connection. But soon, demand outgrew Heidi’s personal capacity to supply. After less than a year, Crew Connection started growing.
Progress is painfully slow up until it’s happening so fast that you have to scramble to keep up. You’ll go through many seasons in your business. Each brings its own challenges—or opportunities, if you have the right mindset. The next few years for Crew Connection consisted of hiring video production industry experts, getting the word out, and building out the basement—equipping it with office space, computers, and phones.
Whether you set up shop in a time when you have to drive four miles to send a fax—like Heidi did almost three decades ago—or today, you have to persist in a rapidly-changing world. The sooner you accept that there will be endless challenges, the better. In business, and in life, it’s good to be tenacious—and a little crazy.
PayReel’s clients, who are some of the biggest companies in the world, are constantly immersed in the chaos of producing multimedia content or executing live events. PayReel makes sure they have the right contractors at the right time in the right place, and that everyone gets paid properly. And, most importantly, they handle every last detail perfectly while making sure their clients think nothing of it, so they can get back to doing what they do best.