It is incredibly frustrating sometimes promoting yourself as a brand as an independent voice and entrepreneur. I’d be lying if I said there have been nights where I prayed for someone to purchase the rights to my show so I could have a steady paycheck and grow my reach in order to promote the message I started with to larger audiences. Recently though, I’ve been starting to understand though that being independent is probably the best thing I could be doing.
In media, there are three type of independent content producers- the ones that fake it, the ones that make it, and the ones that wander. Faking is saying everything is fine when the house and room you’re standing in are on fire. It’s putting on a false smile when you’ve been fired, or you quit for personality reasons, and now you want to seem like what you were doing before was beneath you or something. people see that pain and shame, and “independent” to them sounds a lot like “unemployed.”
Wandering folks start as enthusiasts, treating everything like a hobby even though they have lots of potential. They don’t posses the drive but still grow envious of those seemingly doing better, then wonder why they aren’t bigger. It’s because when you treat what you do like a hobby, you get hobby level results. It’s playing a game because you don’t want to take real risks.
You want to go report on the ground for a story? Jump in your car and go.
You want to grow your network and platform? Get ready to spend money you might not have.
You want to have people take an interest in you? Be interesting.
The ones that make it don’t just show up (though some do, cough cough Tomi). Yes, some people are just given opportunity. Don’t get mad, don’t get even, become dangerous instead. They’ll never understand the work and the knowledge you’ll have that will make you shrewd and vital to the field you’re entering. Where others will easily fall you will still be standing. Your work will outshine others because those that are “in the know” will see your blood, sweat, and tears in everything you produce.
Recently, Breitbart had a story discussing recent layoffs from TheBlaze:
The employees who were let go include faces of the business like radio host Mike Opelka and staff writer Brandon Morse, who starred in online videos discussing cultural issues. Beck put a bold face forward, saying that this setback will lead to a strategy of “disruption” — which he won an award for in 2013 — that will change the media landscape forever…
Mike Opelka had been in radio for over a decade and at TheBlaze for over 7 years. Brandon Morse, a popular face for TheBlaze, who from face value seemed to have a promising career there, was also let go. To say I was shocked is beyond words, frankly it just seems unreal. This is a steady reminder that when you take someone else’s coin, you are at their mercy.
My content is mine, I take full responsibility for my direction, good and bad. Sometimes it’s awesome, sometimes it’s really shitty. I’ve made some stupid, stupid decision, and then other choices have put me head and shoulders above my peers.
Watching TheBlaze have so many issues lately has made a darker side of me watch in enjoyment. Yes, I was incredibly upset when my show wasn’t picked up by TheBlaze Radio Network. I purposefully didn’t talk to people for several days when we knew the fight was over. I did honestly wonder if it was for nothing. I had to separate my beliefs from the facts. My belief was that because TheBlaze didn’t pick up my show that my was bad. The facts were I had overwhelming and tremendous support from friends, family, and fans I’ve never met. I was added to many new networks and had record downloads the weeks and months following. Because I aimed for the moon people noticed, and even though I didn’t make it I still took down many stars with me. I was better because of the process because I walked out of that situation with more than what I came in with.
It was my goal to get into terrestrial talk radio full time, I quickly learned it was because I didn’t pay my dues. I forgo’d the standard radio industry process and did something that ten, even four years ago was a amateur industry no one took seriously. I was told by one station I applied to for a basic, entry level job that I “had no communications or broadcasting experience.” Funny, because the facts prove against that. I’m not just a podcaster, I’m my own financier, marketer, manager, scheduler, writer, editor, reporter, cameraman, and top salesman. Everything I don’t do I pass over to show producer Ryan, who works because I work hard enough to pay him for his work. My belief at that moment was that I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t have a formal education in the industry, yet the facts showed once again none of that was true. Within three months of that conversation I had almost three times as many listeners as that entire FM radio network. I realized real fast that I was part of a field of individuals some celebrate and others fear- disruptive industries.
No one gave me permission to do anything- I have conducted more interviews than anyone my age with a journalism degree. I had no filmmaking experience but that didn’t stop me from my first documentary or from directing and producing my next docuseries. I had never stepped foot in a radio station but that didn’t stop me from creating on of the top growing podcasts in the continent in a already crowded field of right wing political commentators. I never asked permission and I never thought a lack of education was going to stop me from going out and actually learning the skills needed to get the job done.
I’m not trying to brag, but I need to go over this in my own head because when your beliefs tell you one thing but the facts tell you another, the facts are usually right. The fact is I’m doing pretty good for someone that had no right (according to some) getting into the business I am in.
That article brings up something about Glenn Beck worth mentioning though, something which truly reminds me to stay grounded and even understand why it’s probably good I didn’t get picked up when I was trying to:
“In 2013, I was given the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award by the Tribeca Film Festival. Today, just four years later, I don’t believe I would finish in the top 100. To change that, we needed to become more nimble and drastically adjust our approach to keep pace with the massive changes unfolding before us. When I first put TheBlaze on the air, it was GBTV. And I won a hammer. It’s the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award. It’s a disrupter’s award. It goes to some of the best disrupters in the world.
I couldn’t believe I was in the room when I won this award. That year, I earned that award because we broke television and we’re the first one to make it an app and put it online. I haven’t earned this hammer a day since.”
“My purpose is clearer today than it has been in years,” he writes: “Love, Courage, Truth.”
“As difficult as the changes we made today have been, this was an important first step in getting to where we are going.”
The Disruptors pave the future because they live in today. To others in the struggle to innovate and create, all I say is stay the course, because you might not owe it to others but ultimately you owe it to yourself, and that’s how you can go to sleep at night.
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Remso W. Martinez is a journalist and Amazon bestselling author of “Stay Away From the Libertarians!” You can follow him on Twitter @RemsoForVa or on his website rwmartinez.com.