FEATURING: Jason Lefton
Name the biggest challenge you have had in growing your business. How did you solve it?
Running a creatively focused laser studio has two main challenges: Educating clients about what the laser is capable of is tricky because the technology has only recently been widely used for artistic endeavors. It’s also hard to balance the seemingly limitless potential of the materials we work with and industries we collaborate with. I wouldn’t say I’ve entirely solved either challenge, but I talk with everyone I can about how cool lasers are any chance I get. I’m a ‘slow and steady’ turtle with my eye on the long term, trying to grow our business a little each year.
What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?
Everything has been a series of small events; growing organically and figuring it out one step at a time. There are a lot of great people to thank along the way: Drew Ungvarsky from Grow, Jonathan Bayme from theory11, Kevin Cantrell who brought us in on a wonderful project for Nike, my wife for giving me confidence and vitality. And my team here at BIG SECRET for helping me keep the wheels on the thing. No one accomplishes their dream without help and it’s good to remind yourself of that fact along the way.
Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:
Talk to everyone: If you aren’t able to communicate well, you won’t be able to sell your ideas, find help building them, and cross things off your list without burning out. Being resourceful is the most common trait I observe in those I consider successful and you can’t be resourceful if you don’t constantly interact with others.
Take risks: Big and small risks alike keep you trying new things and from getting too comfortable. If you’re comfortable, you’re likely not moving forward.
Don’t take yourself too seriously: There’s a lot of ego in creative businesses along with people constantly comparing themselves to others. Keep perspective about your own goals and ideas. Laugh at yourself often and take pride in your failures along with your accomplishments.
What is your MOTTO in life?
In a word, balance. I find balance keeps people centered and it’s my highest priority – too much of a good thing or too little of a wild streak and bad things are bound to happen. It’s incredibly easy to overindulge or feel dejected in this modern age.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
My wife would say it’s MTV’s The Real World, but I haven’t watched in years. I would say a radio bar from Westhampton Pastry Shop. My sweet tooth is my biggest weakness.
If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
My wife, my son, and endless pizza.
What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's?
When seeking help from others, don’t limit yourself to people in your industry, region, or age. Great assistance and advice often comes from the unexpected places. It’s become harder to work in a vacuum with the Internet, but it’s still surprising at how many people stay in their lane for so long, denying the opportunity to push themselves harder. Listen to what other professionals and peers and friends and strangers have to say. Ask them questions. Form opinions and then challenge your opinions often. Keep growing and sharing what you love with everyone.