The Blog

With the new year in full swing, I want to focus on something that encapsulates some if not most people when it comes to how they live their work lives. A trap that’s so easy to fall into. The trap that confines you to the zone of negativity. It’s easy to land there when you allow the dissatisfying factors around you to dictate your thought process. When it comes to running a business and owning your career, this sentiment and behavioral characteristic can produce a recipe for dissatisfaction.

Get your mind rightYou hear all the time about the power of positive thought. I think that’s extremely important and leads to positive results. However, I want to key in on the effects that negative thoughts play on different facets of your business, yourself and those around you. It’s effects are far reaching and impact all of your efforts, large or small. It even spills over into our ability to craft effective social media posts or produce an impactful video.

It’s easy to think of all the ways that you can fail. If I’m being honest, I enter that world once and while — but I don’t stay there long. I truly believe that if you think you’re going to fail, you will fail. Thinking you will succeed doesn’t guarantee success, but at least you’re giving yourself a shot. Building on the positives will put you in a much better place regardless. Things tend to fall into place much quicker when positive mojo is part of the foundation. 

Here are a few areas that might trigger that negative alarm bell and why reversing that impulse is critical.


We all have those not so fun to get along with clients. The ones that try to suck the life out of you no matter what the task is. Thankfully we only get one of those once in a while at Spiracle Media. It’s important to remind yourself that this isn’t the status quo. If it is, it might be time for self-evaluation as a person and a company. A positive or relaxed mindset breeds a sentiment that is naturally passed onto the client and quells the urge to get frustrated. In time, that mindset becomes your default mode even when stumbling upon a challenge. The right mindset is imperative in making sure all clients are treated the same.


This is a subject that can be very uncomfortable to talk about and even harder to broach when you encounter a dwindling bottom line. Money isn’t everything, but it is everything when you’re running a business. It’s hard to take money issues with a grain of salt. The livelihood of your employees, yourself and the prospects of growth depend on it. The best case scenario is to win the small battles when you’re down and to exercise some caution when you’re up. Invest in areas that make sense. Check the trends and do your best to make sure that the people or tools you’re adding allow for maximum benefit. Slow times happen. Get your mind and bank account right so you can weather those dips in business. Those moments tend to arrive unannounced.

Loss of Creativity or Drive

Complacency is a vice. It leads to a lack of willingness to put 100% into every project. I received some great advice last year during a meeting with a comparable company in San Francisco. Treat every project with the same degree of care and creativity no matter how large the client or cost of the project. You must buy into the mantra that improvement, even in incremental steps, leads to larger projects and an open window to expansive creativity. Don’t bring the rest of the group down. Pumping adequate energy into everything you do will yield surprising results and opportunities.

Negativity in my eyes is a function of the mind that stems from your ability to deal with your immediate environment as well as the results that are a part of it. Those results are usually connected to your efforts. At the end of the day, it comes down to consistency in the departments of determination and ambition. I am thankful each and every morning for so many things. Spiracle Media and the people I get to work with on a daily basis are certainly in the top 3. We turn four in March and I make it a point every day to bask in the possibilities, even if for a moment, of what we can become. I know a big part of that depends on my attitude and work ethic. How well do you deal with the negative and let it go? Don’t be that leader or employee that’s an obstacle to success. Growing a business or brand is hard enough without the unnecessary strain. 

I’ll side with the positive option every time.

I’m not sure if it’s because I spent the formative years of my career immersed in a technological landscape that was rapidly progressing or not, but I have been for the most part receptive to change. I traveled 3.5 hours to attend college (not too far), moved to North Carolina not knowing anyone in 2007, lost a job in 2009 and started a business in 2011. I know what change feels like. That doesn’t even touch the relationships, family situations and additional life happenings that have been mixed in along the way.

Now a days, change can be both intriguing and exciting.


There are two types of change. Forced and preemptive. Both are okay and necessary in life and business. It’s part of the game when it comes to staying relevant.

We see a problem, we react by making changes. We see a problem down the line, we start tweaking the plan. What do we adapt to? There are a number of things. A shift in your audience, employee turnover, availability of new technology or a change in your financial situation are just a few. In every case, your goals remain consistent. Adapt in order to be as efficient as possible and to remain in a place of relevance.

As a small business owner, it seems like change is lurking around every corner. One of the worst lines out there is, “That’s the way we do it because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Not a good thing to hang your hat on in most cases. The reason that line usually comes up is because something is not working as well as it should or is on the brink of being broken.

I am not advocating that you change your entire look or plan just for fun, but be aware that change can be a great thing. Firing on all cylinders most of the time takes focus and self-evaluation. Don’t let complacency get in the way of healthy change. Change is the only way to reach your growth potential.

We all put our faith in something. Those things can include God, our ability, a team or the system that we are a part of. Whatever the case, our decisions are often driven by two things, faith or fear.

It can seem like a constant battle when it comes to keeping things aligned and in sync on a day-to-day basis. How can you keep fear in check and instead breed confidence in whatever you are doing? Here are a few things to consider.

Take Calculated Risks

This is more for the business owner. Taking risks is a part of the deal, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be careless risks. Know the possible outcomes before you make the choice. Most should be fairly obvious. This will help weigh whether the risk is worth it. Minimizing the damage should always be a goal.


It sounds simple enough and it really is. Take a few minutes to scan available information or at least gather some surface knowledge about a new client, employee, project or product. A small effort can reap a big reward.

Read Up on Others Experiences

Most successful people were in the same boat as you at some point in their career. There is no better way to learn than comparing your experience to the experience of others. Grab a good book and enjoy! You’ll probably be surprised at the similarities.

Mistakes Happen

Mistakes are part of the game. I have learned my greatest lessons from mistakes and screwups. Somebody recently asked me if I would change anything since starting Spiracle Media. My response was absolutely not. You don’t learn anything from being in a flawless environment. I actually think that’s a red flag. A flawless environment can lead to comfort, which leads to complacency. Never a good thing.

Surround Yourself with Good People

We hear this all the time, but it’s the truth. You are who your friends and co-workers are. Check your circle. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people that are ambitious, genuine and talented. Do your priorities in work and life align? The people around influence your behavior more than you realize.

At the end of the day, believe in what you’re doing. If you expect others to buy in, you must completely buy in first. Keep in mind that just because an outcome doesn’t meet your expectation doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do. Acknowledge it and move on. It won’t be the last time you’re challenged or left unfulfilled by a result. Just aim at minimizing that sentiment.

Video is on fire and it should be. Decision makers across the board are saying, “we need to do video!” Obviously, we agree. It’s hard to find a legit reason not to do it and money should be at the bottom of the list. There are plenty of ways to get creative without a pile of money. Aligning yourself with a solid partner is key in that process.

If you’re an organization that cares anything about getting your message out with clarity and having it digested by a target audience that triggers a response, than video is must.

Before you jump into the production phase of the process, there are a few things that need to be in order.

1) Define a Decision-Making Team or Individual
Too many hands on deck will make for a painful process for everyone involved. Identify a team (2-3 individuals) that will have most of the say when it comes to developing and moving the process forward. I am all for feedback, but there must be some structure and a filter in place.

2) Set Goals

What is the purpose of the video(s)? Can we spin off the main video into smaller pieces of content? Those are critical questions. By evaluating the use, distribution and call to action, you are on the right track to maximizing your investment. You can create a beautiful looking video, but if you don’t define a clear purpose than you might be wasting valuable time and resources.

3) Pinpoint Your Audience

Everyone has an audience. Reaching them exactly where they are is the challenge. Once you’re able to do that, actionable results will follow. Take the time to figure out what your audience is interested in or what they enjoy. How and when can they be reached? Do you want to leave them informed, encouraged to donate or place an order? Those are all things to consider.

4) Establish a Timeline

Let’s face it. Things get done much more efficiently when there is a timeline in place.
Establish one and stick to it! There should be allotted time for meetings, capturing video, editing, review and delivery. Once the expectations are set, you should be off and running in the right direction.

Video is a necessary asset for every company, organization, etc. However, it can be misused quite easily and not taken advantage of to the fullest. Everything you do should be about maximizing your investment. That starts with having a plan and a purpose. Video is no different.

We have been blessed throughout this year when it comes to working with some incredible clients. In the past month, Spiracle Media had the opportunity to work collaboratively on this video with EverFi, the NHL and NHLPA as the trio launched the Future Goals program. We are thrilled to be a part of it!

The Future Goals program is a North American education initiative that helps students build their STEM skills using the fast-paced, exciting game of hockey as a learning vehicle.

Decisions are pivotal to all aspects of life and business. We make multiple decisions each day whether we realize it or not. There are obvious choices and those that we mull over, discuss and second guess. Is now the time to add a new piece of video equipment or online tools to enhance our social media efforts? New employees? Then there are those that get made on autopilot with not much thought at all such as setting a deadline for a project. Each is impactful and often times those that seem small have the greatest impact.

2012_05_VisionDecisions can certainly provide a level of anxiety especially when multiple people are involved and financial well-being or investment are part of the equation. That’s where it becomes imperative that the end goal and vision of the business remain the central focus. Far too often, personal preference tends to creep in and disrupt the decision making process. Not that personal preference should be eliminated from the discussion, but if it’s contrary to the overall vision then it need not be applied.

I observed a situation recently where a team was put in place to evaluate a member of an organization. The team members were responsible for providing feedback. However, all feedback was made available to the individual. This lack of a filter created a destructive environment that resulted because one team member provided feedback that was weighted more toward personal preference. The ensuing discussion and end result was not healthy for the company at all.

Listening to multiple viewpoints and ideas is critical when it comes to employee buy-in and decision making. This buy-in is as important as anything for a number of reasons. It should be a major priority and goes hand-in-hand with clearly laying out the vision. This ensures that each employee and partner is on the same page. If that’s been accomplished, the process of generating productive and constructive feedback has begun. Feedback that will help propel the business in the right direction.

Opinions and personal preference are important, but not when they compromise the integrity of the overall vision. Keep those out of the decision making process as much as possible.

Some projects move at the snails pace while others bolt through production. Our recent
commercial for Unlimited Possibilities didn’t hit a single speed snag. In a span of 15 days, we
met, we planned, and edited the finished piece you see above.

fence and houseFrom the get-go the Spiracle Media creative team was tasked to come up with a :30 second spot that touched on four main points. We needed to highlight the home atmosphere of the specialized assisted living facility, the fixed pricing, the resident/staff ratio, and the emotional impact it has on family members. Whew… That’s a lot to corral into a tiny video.

The production day lasted five hours. The interviews were the most time consuming. We did those with two cameras. Our main camera was a Canon 70d with a Sigma 18-35 1:8 lens. It was placed to the side of the interviewer. Our second camera was a Canon 60d outfitted with
another Sigma 18-35 1:8 lens. We placed it nearly 90 degrees off the main camera and closer to the subject. The operator of the second camera normally does a subtle pan during the questioning.

We’ve been shooting more and more interviews like this. It helps us with editing and gives a
more polished look to our final products. The hardest part of implementing this technique is
syncing the video in post.

We were stoked to see the video when we got back to the office. It looked great. Good video
usually leads to good editing.

infoWhile we were going through the sound, we were moved by what one of the subjects said. She described her mothers anguish seeing her friends being placed in less than acceptable assisted living facilities. In the interview you can hear her daughter’s voice crack and see her eyes fill
with water. You can hear relief coming over her when she recalls what it was like finding Unlimited Possibilities.

At this point we made an executive decision. Instead of hitting on all the points our client originally wanted, we decided to make this one sound bite our commercial. It’s a risky move. Our client was either going to love it, or scold us for not following instructions. We sent the draft and held our breath.

They loved it. Our intuition was right. We made some tweaks, but the final project didn’t change much.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. A speedy process is often the result of good clients, great
communication and trust.

You probably heard your college advisor(s) say network, network, network. There is no doubt that who you know has a direct impact on success and advancement. At least that’s the case for most of us. Hard work and talent will only get you so far. You need help along the way whether you believe it or not. No one makes it totally on their own. The same is true for a small business.


When we started Spiracle Media in 2011, it was our network of contacts that were essential in getting us off the ground. We knew quite a few people from our time as Charlotte media members. However, it wasn’t a hard sell that got us the business. It was about building on the foundation that had been cultivated over time.

I think there is a misconception out there that networking needs to reap instant results. That approach is totally off base. A business transaction is still a human transaction between two people or teams. As humans, we want to feel a deeper connection and that’s no different in business. You might continually network with someone that will never yield a direct business transaction and that’s just fine.

Networking is about much more than making money and locking down contracts. It’s about sharing advice, stories and making a genuine connection. That’s the mark you need to aim to make with every client or associate you encounter. If you treat people the right way, they’ll notice. They’ll become recurring customers, providers of referrals, drivers of your extended network and contributors to your knowledge base.

Some will share nothing more than advice, wisdom or friendship. Those components will prove to be most valuable in the long run. Everything is better when you surround yourself with friends. Business is no different.

Want an internship? Email

Video testimonials remain one of the most effective ways for a company to show off the impact of an initiative or product. We spent two days in Boston in June capturing sessions from EverFi’s Annual Research Summit as well as interviews that could be used in individual pieces like this.