It’s easy to come into any business with preconceived ideas about that particular industry; however, many industries in the culture space are complex and ever-changing. Once you start to build a company, you’ll likely learn there’s much more to each industry than meets the eye.
Realizing you had misconceptions about your industry may lead you to rethink certain strategies and decisions about your business. Fortunately, it’s rarely too late to change course based on the knowledge you learn from experience.
Below, a panel of Rolling Stone Culture Council members shared some myths and misconceptions they had about their specific industries when they started out, and how those assumptions were later proven false.
Radio Stations Would Embrace Monetizing Podcasts
Podcasting has grown exponentially since I started “Produce Your Podcast” in 2016. Based on thirty years of broadcast radio experience, I assumed owners and operators of stations would eagerly embrace monetizing podcasts by offering production services to clients in local markets. It’s 2021, and podcasting is still an afterthought. Their strategy hasn’t evolved past traditional advertising models. – Traci DeForge, Produce Your Podcast
Financial Success Equals Industry Accolades
I believed Tony Award-winning shows made money and money-making shows won Tonys. However, some of the most financially successful shows on Broadway did not win Tony Awards for best show. With theater fans, word-of-mouth is actually the most powerful tool of persuasion and influence. – Bonnie Comley, BroadwayHD
Legal Cannabis Would Be A Fast Money-Maker
I, like many others probably, thought getting into the legal cannabis business in 2016 was going to be a fast money-maker. I mean, cannabis grows like a weed and drugs sell themselves, right? Wrong. It has been the most trying (yet rewarding) experience of my life. Business is business no matter what industry. It has taken perseverance, confidence and risk. I wouldn’t have it any other way. – Niles Christodoulidis, Rebel Roots Farms, Inc.
You Have to Stick With What You Know
When I started Victorious PR, I knew there were two sectors I was really good at: music and real estate. My misconception about PR was that you have to stick with what you know. Luckily, I proved myself wrong. It turns out that once you have a system, once you have organic outreach and a framework that gives results, you can make genuine connections in industries that are far from what you started. – Victoria Kennedy, Victorious PR
The Industry Is Full of Sharks and Rip-Offs
It’s actually about trust and long-term relationships. The real “lifelong” music business is a very small community that shows up year after year to the Grammys, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dinner, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala, etc. I’ve sat on charity boards, made friends with people from my industry and asked how I can give, rather than take. It opens all the doors wide open. – Larry Dvoskin, Miracle Music Inc.
All Cannabis Enthusiasts Are Potheads and Stoners
In the cannabis industry, there’s still a misconception that all cannabis enthusiasts are either potheads or stoners, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Customers can range from seniors, to those with medical conditions or others who use it to reduce anxiety, for example. There is no one label that fits what a cannabis consumer looks like in 2021. – Vanessa Gabriel, Drop Delivery
Journalists Are ‘The Enemy’ of PR Professionals
People in PR complain journalists are close-minded, uncooperative and cynical — essentially, the enemy. Well, if you do PR badly and spam dozens of journalists, then you can’t blame them for some hostility! I’ve found if you nurture relationships with journalists and communicate with honesty, when it makes sense to reach out, journalists will treat you as another trusted source. – Paul Blanchard, Right Angles
You Need to Take Every Job You Can
When I started in entertainment 20+ years ago, we were always told to take every job you can. Always be busy. My philosophy now is different. The “nos” are what will shape your career. I’ve learned to only take on projects I love and absolutely have to do. Those are gold. – Karina Michel, Tallulah Films
Being a Super Fan Is ‘Unprofessional’
I work in the music business, and I used to be embarrassed about being a super fan. I’ve seen the same artists 50+ times, ran fan sites for them, etc. Several older people in my industry told me to keep that information to myself because it would come off as unprofessional. However, when I started sharing more about my super fan experience is when my business started to explode! – Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf
Everyone Is on Social Media
Misconception: Everyone is on social media. Findings: Surprisingly, a large percentage of our target members are or were not active on social media, especially for their work. They told us that they didn’t know how to use it to advance their creative careers. – Grace Cho, Artrepreneur
Successful Artists Need Gallery Shows and Expert Validation
In the art world, the only way to be successful was to have famous, reputable gallery representation curate your art and validate that your art is worth buying — until now. The pandemic hitting the third year into my business showed me that securing the right advertising and making your own connections can play a part in being successful. What we absolutely believe is true just may not be all the time. – Stephanie Dillon, Stephanie Dillon Art