Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jon Paul Spurling, Head of Scripted of OGM Productions, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

OGM Productions is a full-service film and television production company based in Los Angeles. Our customers range from creatives who need us to execute their vision all the way through to the end user, i.e., the folks half paying attention to our productions on their screens at home as they simultaneously navigate the infinite death scroll of social media or swipe left and right on the latest dating app. We know where we stand, folks. It's all good.

Tell us about yourself

From as far back as I can remember, I've been obsessed with the entertainment industry. As a kid watching classics like "The Never Ending Story" and "Back to the Future," I didn't just enjoy the experience, I told my parents I was going to go to the magical place where these stories were made. I almost changed my mind when I first saw "Gremlins." That movie terrified me. Of course, I had no idea at the time that I was talking about Hollywood, but here I am today. Luckily no sign of any gremlins so far. The road here has been long and windy.

I was involved in amateur dramatics throughout my childhood, taking part in numerous school plays and local theater productions. As you can imagine, I was hugely popular. Definitely one of the cool kids. In my 20s, I moved to London, having been signed by a commercial modeling agency. Being a model (read: breathing prop) led me to screen acting, which led me to writing, producing, and directing. Over the course of several years, I fell in love with just about every aspect of the entertainment industry.

Having worked in the industry for over 20 years now, my daily motivation comes from an endless desire to do more, experience more, create more, and learn more. There are infinite possibilities in this industry, and I feel like I've barely scratched the service. Of course, I balance this relentless drive with a daily practice of gratitude for how far I've come and all of the blessings I experience in my day-to-day life. I believe this daily (sometimes hourly) pendulum swing between intense drive and deep gratitude is what keeps me going. And keeps me sane for the most part.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The rest of my team will kill me for saying this, but honestly, just the fact that I'm a part of the entertainment industry. I was born in a sleepy town in the UK (my best friend as a child was a sheep), had no connections in showbiz, and had no legal right to live or work in the US. It took me the best part of four decades (and a few questionable marriages) to figure out how to move to LA and do what I always dreamed of doing. The productions we've created since then have all been magical experiences, and I couldn't be more proud of our team. But on a personal level, the thing that fills me with a sense of pride every day is just being here. I'll look out for the hate mail from the OGM team. It's coming.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

To use an analogy, when you build an AI-driven platform, it can only learn by executing "samples." Almost all of the samples are wrong. It's the only way the AI can eventually learn what's right. Well, it's the same in business. You have to keep moving, pushing forward at all times, throwing yourself into things that you know full well might be "wrong." Of course, nothing is truly wrong because if it doesn't work, you say out loud, "sample," take the learning from it, and move on with zero loss of enthusiasm.

This is when folks around you begin to question your grasp of reality. So be it. In the case of AI, a sample can take a few milliseconds. In the case of running a business, each sample can take months. It's grueling, tiresome, and utterly frustrating at times. You have to have very thick skin and be borderline delusional when it comes to how optimistic you can be in the face of defeat. A healthy dependency on caffeine helps.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Build something YOU are deeply passionate about. You can never guarantee that a new business will be successful. In fact, the odds are stacked wildly against you. If you're not doing it because you LOVE the vision you have for it, if it doesn't get you seriously FIRED up when you think about the potential outcome, don't even start. There will be far too many setbacks and disappointments to endure if you're not obsessed with making it work (and having fun along the way!)
  2. The saying goes, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go as a team." Or something like that. The point is, plan on going far. Find incredible people to work with. They could be incredibly passionate, incredibly hardworking, or incredibly funny. Whatever it is about them that makes them incredible, these are the folks who will be there when you need them to be and help you carry the burden of building something. If you wouldn't want to kick back at the end of the day and share a drink with your team, you need to rehire. Unless you just don't drink. Fair enough.
  3. Read. Obsessively. Every day. Whenever you can. Making breakfast? Read. Hitting the weights? Read. Spooning your partner? OK, probably don't read but hey, if they're OK with it... And by the way, when I say "read," I include listening to audiobooks, YouTube videos, Udemy courses, and basically any kind of content you can get your hands on that's in some way relevant to your business. It doesn't matter what you're building; somebody somewhere has either already done it or done something similar enough for you to learn from. Why would you try to figure it all out on your own when there are at least a thousand road maps out there, created by people who have already made it work? If you think you know enough, you don't. If you think reading is boring, tough. Force yourself to get excited about it. Reward yourself with ice cream after every chapter if that's what it takes. Just get it done.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.