Real Lessons in Entrepreneurship from Reality TV
With Brady Connell
With decades of experience in entertainment and reality TV, Brady Connell’s career might seem incredibly different than your own. But today on The Business of You, Brady shares just how similar his life lessons have been to those of any entrepreneur and freelancer!
Brady Connell is an Emmy-award-winning Executive Producer, Showrunner, and Director with vast television producing experience. Connell’s work has propelled the success of popular reality programs such as Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Brady is a two-time Emmy recipient for The Amazing Race, an NAACP Image Award recipient for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a DGA Award nominee for The Great Christmas Light Fight, and a Humanitas Prize winner for writing in children’s programming. While Executive Producer/showrunner of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at ABC, the United Nations recognized Brady and his team with the prestigious Peace Award: “The Most Positive Television Show in the World.”
A graduate of UCLA, Brady Connell is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Hollywood Radio and Television Society, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Currently, Brady is working on two primary projects: The Great Christmas Light Fight and Secret Celebrity Renovation.
Pursue your interests and the path will become clear
When Brady Connell started working in television, he took a variety of short jobs in order to jumpstart his career. He wasn’t passionate about it and even considered leaving production altogether.
That’s when the makers of Survivor noticed his resume and connected the dots! Although Brady’s resume looked like “a mess” to him, it was an amalgamation of experiences in game challenge creation and social experiments. The creators of Survivor realized early on that Brady’s unique resume made him perfect for the role, and he went on to be one of the first producers of reality television in history.
The beginning of his career serves as inspiration that no matter how unusual your experience is, there is a perfect role waiting for you – you just have to work hard, develop your skills, and network.
Be customer service-centric
While the entertainment industry is saturated with people trying to “make it in Hollywood,” Brady shares one thing that makes you stand out: Work ethic.
It’s a common belief that if you are a great performer, writer, or producer – or entrepreneur – that people will want to work with you, even if you’re challenging. However, he points out that in a saturated market, your interpersonal skills are what set you apart from the crowd. Whether you’re on set of a show and displaying a positive attitude, or an entrepreneur going out of your way to make your clients happy, your energy and attitude will define your career success.
Stick to your values
In the world of reality television, Brady stands out: He has a firm commitment to working on life-affirming content (in a genre that doesn’t always make it easy), with principled teams and reputable partners. He chooses his projects wisely, which he learned early in his career.
In the early years of his work in television, Brady got work wherever he could find it. Despite laughing when he refers to certain projects, he knows that his early work led him further toward success. Doing what he had to do early on led him down an illustrious path – and now, he gets to create television that has a major effect on the audience it serves.
Inspire to standards
When managing others, Brady Connell has a technique we all can use: It’s called inspire to standards.
When he begins work on a new project, he makes a speech and sets expectations for the staff and crew. He shares the mission and vision of the show, what is expected of their time and energy, and how they will work together in collaboration. This is ultimately the source of his success – motivating people to be self-driven so that he doesn’t have to manage them; he only inspires and encourages.
Inspire to standards works when we’re creating a team, and even when we’re managing ourselves. Brady uses this mantra for himself when he chooses projects – asking himself, what will drive my mission forward? What will be the most fun? What is the expectation, and is it a good use of my time? As entrepreneurs, we should be asking ourselves the same questions.
Enjoy these life lessons from a reality TV entrepreneur – and apply them to your own career, no matter what industry you’re in.
“The decision to be a freelancer is a major, major career and life decision. If you’re a freelancer-type person, you have to be okay with not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from and you have to be looking for work on a regular basis. That takes your career in one direction. On the other side of things, if you want stability and consistency, that takes your career in another direction. Nobody told me that when I was starting out.”
“I was trying to get out of tv…until Survivor came along. They were putting resources into this really interesting social experiment. I happened to meet the right person at the right time. My resume, which looked like a total mess, actually made a lot of sense for this game show adventure experience. I had experience coming up with challenges for games.”
“The Amazing Race – I felt like it was pure. It was like, go here and get there as fast as you can. And we’ll give you a clue. Win the race around the world and we’ll give you a prize. We just documented their story. Historically speaking, it was impressive. It is all real.”
“You follow your gut along the way. In the freelance world, you’re making choices all the time, daily. I love that, that I’m faced with that choice. I consider the impact and whether it will be fun; it makes me think about my day-to-day work!”
“If you just want to crank out a product, it might as well be nuts and bolts. But telling stories is another thing. You’re touching peoples’ hearts. People in charge of projects have to have certain standards, personal standards, a commitment to the content, and elevating those standards so that everyone involved is self-motivated.”
“Hire the right people, then set the standards – what are these expectations and what is the commitment. Everybody becomes really self-motivated. That’s my operating procedure.”
“There is a certain collaboration in business; it is the key to everything. Everybody has different jobs and skill levels. You don’t want a bunch of egos just running around trying to prove themselves. I try to lay it out, this is how I want this production to run.”
“A lot of people come from around the world to work in this industry, But you’ll get called back if you have strong interpersonal skills. That’ll stand out. If you have a good attitude and you’re a hard worker, you will stand out.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Visit Brady Connell’s website at https://www.bradyconnell.com/
Connect with Brady on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradyconnell/
Read Brady’s case study at https://thebrandid.com/portfolio/brady-connell/
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